‘The Devil Is A Liar:’ Pastor Hit With Praise And Pushback After Praying Over Black Boy With Autism

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pastor Octavia Roberts TikTok Autism spectrum treatment praying

Source: MoMo Productions / Getty

Pastor Octavia “Taye” Roberts has social media divided on how she prayed over a young Black boy on the autism spectrum.

Roberts, a co-pastor of Open Wings Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia, posted the now-viral clip on her TikTok account Aug. 4. The Christian ministry head and mother of seven passionately prayed over the innocent child’s attention span and learning abilities.

The fervent pastor placed her hand on the child’s head and spoke that God would make his life a testimony that proved doctors and teachers wrong. 

“We bind autism, we come against ADHD — right now, in the name of Jesus. We break that curse. The devil is a liar,” Roberts proclaimed as several onlookers clapped. 

“The doctor’s job is too diagnose. Your job is to believe the report of the Lord. You speak life over him,” the pastor told the child’s mother. “And don’t make him feel inadequate or different, and don’t handicap him.”

The self-proclaimed TikTok pastor thanked God for healing, restoration and peace while she additionally prayer for the distraught and devout mother.

Online users were split on Roberts’ prayer over the child.

The majority of the pastor’s commenters thought she issued a remarkable word. They supported the Christian leader’s prayer and cited personal experiences with prayer and autism treatment.

“My son didn’t speak for years and my granny took him to the altar. Let’s just say he hasn’t stopped talking since!”

“My son was delivered of ADD/ADHD, Articulation Severe Behavior Disorder and Autism. He was in the military 10 yrs, married, [and] has a baby girl! 😁”

“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.”


TikToker @SpiritualWhistleblower strongly opposed the scene she saw in Roberts’ clip. The vocal Tiktok presence found major fault with “the Black Church” attempting to “replace” various forms of therapy with prayer.


On Instagram, a few others also condemned what they watch in @TheNeighborhoodTalk’s repost. They deemed Roberts’ clip an irresponsible and harmful attempt at praying away the child’s developmental disorder. 

“The delusion in some of these Christian’s is insane asf.”

“As someone WITH autism, this is disturbing and there’s nothing wrong with being autistic.”

“These pastors be thinking they’re messiahs.”

It’s unclear what steps the child’s mother has taken to address her son’s development needs outside of taking him to church. 

In March 2023, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention claimed that for the first time, Black children were diagnosed with autism more than white children. 

“The new estimates suggest that about 3% of Black, Hispanic and Asian or Pacific Islander children have an autism diagnosis, compared with about 2% of white kids,” noted the Associated Press

Autism is an expansive spectrum. Its symptoms may include numerous learning, developmental and communicative disabilities, as well as behavioral struggles, due to differences in the brain. The five major types of ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] are Asperger’s syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, Kanner’s syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder.

Regarding treatment, the CDC notes that ASD affects people differently, so individualized treatment plans are required. 

Read more about parenting a child with autism below.

RELATED CONTENT: “Life On The Spectrum: These Celebs And Their Kids Are Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month”

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