DEARBORN, Mich. — Elias Al-Karim says he’s always gotten along well with his neighbors, who are evangelical Christians. But he was angered recently to learn that they had added his name, and the names of his wife and children, to Community Faith Center’s corporate prayer list. Elias called the church to complain.
"We do not want prayer from Christians, and we did not ask for it," he told a reporter. "It’s a violation to pray for someone without their knowledge or consent."
To ease tensions, the church did what many churches and ministries are increasingly doing: started a "do not pray" list. The list grew rapidly after Al-Karim alerted the local newspaper about his experience. Hundreds of Muslims, atheists, Mormons and even pagans called to have their names added to the list. Now when prayer requests come in to the church, names are checked against the list before they receive prayer.
"We have to respect people’s wishes," says the pastor. "If they really don’t want prayer, we honor that."