Televangelist and gospel singer Juanita Bynum is defending her ministry offering a seven-session prayer training course for $1,499.99, after critics called the price “outrageous.”
In a Facebook Live video posted on Thursday, Bynum dismissed critics who found the cost of the prayer training excessive. She said to “discuss the price” of the course, slated to begin on October 6, was “an insult to who I am after being in ministry for over 50 years.”
The 63-year-old preacher and author stated: “(I’ve) been a pioneer in the things of prayer and helping people to understand prayer and letting them watch me do it, so that they can know that there are different dimensions and different levels to prayer.”
Saiko Woods, a Bible teacher in west Texas who hosts The Book Chapter Verse Podcast, noted he has long-standing concerns after following Bynum’s ministry for years.
“When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, as we read in Matthew chapter six, there was no fee involved,” Woods told The Roys Report (TRR). “So, prayer is free. There’s no price for it.”
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Also calling Bynum out publicly is an author and street preacher from Chicago, Marcus Rogers.
“As you guys know, I never charge to travel and preach and I never charge for classes,” Rogers posted on Facebook last week. “I feel like God freely gave it so I freely give it to help His people. . . . So I want to hear y’all’s hearts on this. I just think this is outrageous.”
Bynum’s post received 3.7K responses and thousands of comments.
Regarding the course, Bynum emphasized that her TV studio has space for hundreds of people, and this Atlanta training represented her launching a “next-level school of prayer” that would be limited to 150 people. The online listing states that a tote bag, binder, journal, sacred anointing oil, and Prayer Institute certificate are included as part of the course.
“It is going to be four weeks, seven sessions, in-person,” she said. “It is not a revival or a conference. I’m going to consecrate you at the end and put a full-length prayer shawl on you and give you your certificate stamped with my seal of my ministry.”
TRR reached out to Juanita Bynum International for further comment but did not receive a reply.
Woods, who attended the College of Biblical Studies in Houston for three years, said the course, as it’s described online, does not appear to be similar to any accredited curriculum with which he is familiar. “What I see are people claiming to be Christians selling merchandise to those who are unsuspecting and naïve, because that’s their market,” he said.
Citing 2 Peter 2, which speaks of false teachers, Woods described Bynum and other televangelists as “self-appointed, self-made prophets.” He added: “This is nothing but a get-rich-quick scheme for them to fill their own money coffers. And they’re doing it at the expense of their own soul for profit.”
Bynum, whose TV program airs four times daily on the Daystar network based in Dallas, has 1.3 million followers on Facebook and 248,000 Instagram followers.
She claimed that her ministry in the past has been provided to people at no cost. “In the last several years I have traveled in ministry, I’ve given away more money than I want to think about right now,” said Bynum via Facebook Live. “(I’ve) preached at conferences and not taken a dime, which I recently did and have done and have stacks of letters to prove that.”
According to a database search, five different 501(c)3 organizations are listed as linked to Juanita Bynum. Only one of those organizations, New Juanita Bynum Ministry II Inc., has filed a Form IRS 990 in recent years, revealing the salaries of top-paid employees. That nonprofit group reported donations of $1.8 million in 2020.
Bynum also said that course topics will include “understanding how to hear from God,” demonology, dream interpretation, and the connection between mental health and prayer.
Woods, who described his theological background as Reformed Baptist, said this latest televangelist offer revealed a “lack of discernment” in many churches—particularly “in a lot of charismatic communities.”
He explained: “Some of these people are sincere brothers and sisters, but they are naïve when it comes to what to look for with these ‘big name’ ministers like Juanita Bynum and T.D. Jakes.”
Freelance journalist Josh Shepherd writes on faith, culture, and public policy for several media outlets. He and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.