‘Don’t Handicap Him’: Viral Video of Georgia Pastor ‘Praying Away’ ADHD, Autism from Boy Spurs Backlash on Social Media

A viral video of a pastor praying over a small boy who reportedly has autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has drawn outrage online.

Pastor Octavia Roberts of Open Wings Ministries in Riverdale, Georgia, shared the video on her TikTok account on Aug. 5.

Viral Video of Georgia Pastor ‘Praying Away’ ADHD, Autism from Boy Spurs Backlash on Social Media
Pastor Octavia Roberts prays for boy with ADHD and autism. (Photo: TikTok/octaviaroberts97)

“There is power in prayer and positive confessions. I’m a living witness. I’m just bold enough to take God’s word for it. Isaiah 53:5,” the caption on the video says. 

It garnered nearly 92,000 likes on the pastor’s page and about 19,000 comments.

The three-minute video starts with Roberts and other adults huddled around a small boy while she speaks words of affirmation to him.

“My attention span is great,” she says, before reassuring a woman holding the child’s shoulders, “I got him.”

Roberts continues to attempt to prompt the child to repeat the affirmation before she starts praying. She first asks God to “renounce any curse that was spoken against his learning disabilities in the name of Jesus.”

“He has the mind of Christ,” Roberts tells the woman. “You speak that over him.”

Many viewers who commented on the video on the pastor’s TikTok profile said they were touched by the prayer and also shared their testimonies of overcoming disabilities.

“This choked me up 🥹 my son had a speech disability but because god is good 14 yrs later he speaks proper English and graduates with honors,” wrote one viewer.

“Why am I crying 😩✨ ‘speak that over him!’” Another viewer wrote.

However, a shorter snippet of the video was shared on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, drawing some negative reactions from viewers.

“The doctor’s job is to diagnose. Your job is to believe the report of the Lord,” Roberts continues in the video. “You speak life over him and don’t make him feel inadequate or different. Don’t handicap him. He’s excited about life. He should be. He’s blessed.”

“Father, I thank you for Christian’s testimony. That you would prove all of the doctors and preachers wrong this day. We bind autism. We come against ADHD. Right now, in the name of Jesus,” the pastor says.

On Friday evening SkeeYee, @dococt_ shared the 44-second clip on X with the caption, “This lady is telling this mother to stop taking her son (diagnosed with ADHD) to behavior therapy, ignore the doctor’s advice & just “pray it away.”

The shorter clip was viewed over 18 million times.

“That’s what wrong with the community not getting our children the help GOD put on this earth,” replied another user.

“Religion in the black community most of the time is a scam,” another user proclaimed.

One user said the shorter clip made her cry, but not because she was moved by Roberts’ prayer.

“This response literally makes me want to weep. Denying adhd does not make it go away, acknowledging it developing healthy habits, seeking medications or supplements, and a combination of some form of therapy has helped me tremendously post diagnosis,” she wrote. “If that child has adhd and autism there is inherently more work that needs to be done. Sad man.”

SkeeYee was not the only one accusing the pastor of encouraging the boy’s family to disregard modern medicine. TikToker Spiritual Whistleblower accused anyone who supports praying away disorders of being narcissists aiming to discourage Black males from seeking therapy.

However, many users also came to Roberts’ defense, arguing that SkeeYee misconstrued her message. 

“Bro In no way did she say this. She was saying that the Dr is gonna do what he gonna do which is his job but HER job as a mother is to believe in the Lord and speak life over him and not handicap him by making him feel different, but look at his strengths,” one user said.

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