Jesus, quoting the ancient prophet Isaiah, said, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Mark 11:17), and it seems corporate America would like to start charging rent for His house. As a prayer ministry leader in America, I and hundreds of thousands of other individuals throughout the nation have found using free conference lines to unite people in prayer for our nation has become a new virtual “house of prayer.”
Not only are we praying together daily, weekly, and monthly, we are using free prayer lines to train and mobilize prayer coordinators for specific events such as the National Day of Prayer (first Thursday each May) and Cry Out America (September 11) each year. This has become a tool for uniting hundreds of thousands of individuals at prayer points for these nationwide events. Until recently….
One of the leading cell phone service providers has launched an attack on this free conference line prayer movement. Since October, T-Mobile has been charging its users a one-cent-per-minute fee—in addition to their contracted cell phone provider agreement—to call into free conference lines. A vast majority of these conference line numbers are for prayer calls.
For those unable to participate in person, free prayer calls have become a lifeline, enabling them to join these movements in corporate prayer. Essentially, millions of minutes in prayer are occurring consistently each month. Without doubt, this made an impact during our recent election, and continues to provide a faithful prayer covering every day for our government, educational system, marketplace, and other spheres of our society.
Imagine how those costs could accumulate for a T-Mobile user who participates in some of the 24-7 prayer movements throughout the nation. Even praying an hour a week would mean more than $30 in additional annual fees to the cell phone bill they are already paying to a company that promises no extra fees. With such a promotion, T-Mobile appears to be targeting customers who are seeking more economical plans and who cannot afford these additional fees. The result is many must cease their participation in these prayer calls.
We have many examples of individuals who have experienced this and have expressed themselves on social media. One prayer warrior from Harvey, Louisiana, said “I'm on the prayer line at 5:50 a.m., 7 a.m., 12 noon and 9 p.m. I can't afford to pay T-Mobile’s fee.” A Bible study leader from West Palm Beach, Fla., said “We had a conference call for our Bible study, and cell phone users received a message prior to connecting indicating we would be charged .01 a minute. Due to the charge I had to cut my study short.”
Not only is this disappointing to the individual T-Mobile user, but on a broader scale, freedom of religion is impacted by preventing people from praying because of the additional cost for a “house of prayer.” The big picture perspective involves more than the cost-per-minute. T-Mobile’s actions constitute a spiritual attack on the larger prayer movement undergirding our nation and impacting the world.
The prayer lines are predominantly staffed by volunteers who are donating their time and spiritual equity to seek the face of God for those in desperate need of divine intervention. They do not file an expense report at the end of the month to be reimbursed for their investment in hours of prayer. Will we be willing to stand in support of their freedom to pray without these additional costs?
One way we can do that is by signing a petition at www.FreedomtoPray.org, to help push back against T-Mobile’s attack on prayer. And we can reach out to our elected representatives, letting them know how corporate greed is impacting their constituents. More than anything, we need to share this information among our friends, family members, and social network, to encourage a public outcry that lets T-Mobile know we’re uniting to stop their assault and to prevent other phone companies from trying to do the same thing.
There is more information about all of these opportunities on the website, as well as instructions for T-Mobile customers who want to switch providers without changing phone numbers. Other T-Mobile subsidiaries are included, such as Metro PCS, Simple Mobile, Ting, Ultra Mobile and Project Fi.
Finally, I think one of the most important things we can do is to pray for T-Mobile and ask God to intervene and touch the hearts of corporate leadership in this situation. We have seen what the power of prayer can do, and I have learned to never under-estimate the ways the Holy Spirit can move to change even the most difficult situations.
Some may be temporarily hindered from praying together on free prayer lines; but I am so thankful we serve a God who is always there, listening, and responding. We are invited to approach Him freely and faithfully, anytime and anywhere we choose to establish a “house of prayer” for Him. Let’s not take that for granted, and let’s do everything we can to keep prayer free!
Kay Horner is spokesperson for Freedom to Pray, a new nonprofit dedicated to advocating on behalf of individuals of all faiths who are being forced to end their participation in prayer groups through free conference line services due to T-Mobile’s new $0.01 per minute fee. She is also Executive Director of the Helper Connection and the Awakening America Alliance.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: March 22, 2017