Prayer Requests and Privacy Rules

Privacy is a growing concern for many churches, largely due to changes to the Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). While this law is meant to apply to health care providers who conduct certain administrative and financial transactions electronically, our judicial system has often applied principles more broadly than the law outlines. If your church provides medical care, perhaps through a health clinic, or has employees on a church-sponsored health plan, you should talk with legal counsel about how the HIPAA changes may apply to you.

georgia-church-insurance-company-prayer-requestsEven so, it’s wise for churches to use discretion when disseminating the personal information often contained in a prayer request, especially as it relates to health. Invasion of Privacy laws can still be the basis of a lawsuit when an individual feels their private information has been shared without their permission.

Prayer is an important part of most churches daily functioning, and you shouldn’t feel that you have to give it up for legal reasons. How can you share prayer requests while respecting the requester’s private information? A little caution and sensitivity goes a long way. As a Georgia church insurance company, we’ve come up with a few strategies to stay safe while still meeting your congregation’s prayer needs. Here are our 3 tips for protecting your member’s privacy when sharing prayer requesting.


1. Always Get Permission

The best policy is to get permission – preferably in writing – from the individual before sharing any details with your congregation. Whenever possible, have the individual outline what information is acceptable to share. Another method, though less effective, is an “opt-out” policy. Under this policy the church would share requests publically unless the requester specifically asks them not to. Of course, if an individual herself shares her request publically, that’s considered direct consent.

The legality surrounding the private medical information of employees who are on church-sponsored health insurance can get very tricky. Use even more caution when sharing the prayer requests of staff members.


2. Share on an As-Needed Basis

Simplicity is key. Even when you have explicit consent, the most you typically need to share publically would be the person’s name and general nature of the request (having surgery, lost a family member, etc.). While pastoral staff may need more details to care for the church member, your congregation doesn’t need more than the basics to start praying.

With permission, you could list the contact information of a specified individual who could field questions and facilitate other acts of service, like making meals or bringing flowers.


3. Keep Thorough Records

In the unfortunate event that a lawsuit is brought against your church for sharing private information, thorough record-keeping could protect you. Be sure to keep written records on every prayer request, including who submitted it, what they gave you permission to share, and their written consent when possible.



We’re a leading Georgia church insurance company and we’re here to help you stay safe without compromising your church’s function. By following these tips, you’ll ensure the privacy of your church members while still meeting their need for prayer.

What Our Clients Have to Say

My husband and I had been unhappy with our insurance company for some time, we added security systems to our homes and when we called our insurance company in hopes of getting a better rate nothing changed. We then began our search for a new company.

After sending out several questionnaires from several websites Nolan Jackson Insurance was the first to respond, not only with an upbeat attitude, but he was so helpful in earning our business.

We could not be more pleased with the way in which he has handled all of our questions as well as our needs. His knowledge of his profession, as well as being able to help guide us through what we needed is second to none. His continued customer service is something you do not find often in today’s world typically once someone writes a policy that’s the end of hearing from them, with Nolan it is everything from the original information to making sure that we received all the follow up paperwork for our files.

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On behalf of our staff and the children we serve I want to thank you for being there for us over the years and especially last summer. Your team has always provided excellent service and the most competitive pricing but it is your care and concern for our ministry, our staff and the children we serve that provides a great sense of peace for all involved with our ministry. It is team members like you that enable us to celebrate our tenth year as an organization as well as our tenth anniversary with Jackson Insurance. I am glad you are on our team.

Jeff G. Atlanta, GA

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