A new venture will be starting, in the town centre, from the end of January; it is called ‘Healing on the Streets’ (or HOTS if you like a slick acronym). Nikki went to talk to Chris, from St Paul’s, about this initiative.
So who, or what exactlY, is ‘Healing on the Streets’?
“We believe that God can heal people of any sickness or disease. We provide a small area of peace, out on the pavement in the town centre, where people can come and get prayer for their healing. It is completely free, there are no strings attached. It is a simple model of how we can show the love of God, to people in our town, irrespective of their background, race, gender, sexuality or creed. We believe that God loves them unconditionally, although many don’t know it yet.”
Hmm, sounds interesting. How does it work in practice?
“Well, it’s quite simple really, we set up a few chairs in the town centre and invite passers-by, should they want, to come and take a seat and let us pray for them. Prayer is talking to God and also listening to him. We will ask if we can lay a hand on the person’s shoulder as part of this. We expect to see God healing people.”
“God loves the person whatever the apparent outcome of the prayer and we want to make sure this is made quite plain. However we also want the person to know that healing can be a process and that there may be a degree of healing that will happen over time. If there is no discernable change in the person’s condition, we would love to pray again on another Saturday.”
Some would say it sounds like magic, does it really work?
“I have certainly prayed for people who have had quite clear changes in their condition, for instance a friend of mine, John, whose knee pain disappeared instantly and never returned! I guess if you’re sceptical, try it—you have nothing to lose, except of course your sickness and your scepticism.”
Where’s the catch if it’s free, do I need to come to church?
“No, not unless you decide you want to. We would always give anyone who has been prayed for an envelope with contact information and some more information about what has taken place and why. We are not doing this just to drum up business.”
Do I have to be a Christian?
“No, not at all. You can be a member of any faith or of none.”
Is it confidential?
“Absolutely. We would follow the same rules that would apply at a doctor’s surgery. “
When should I consider prayers for healing?
“Nikki, we believe that prayer can be used at any point. However we strongly advise people to seek professional health advice in exactly the same way that they normally do, and not to see this as ‘instead of’ normal medical treatment or advice. We also advise anyone, even if they feel they have been totally healed, not to stop any prescribed medication. They must decide this only with their doctor.”
Chris, thank you for letting us know more about HOTS; I will certainly be looking out for your banner in Camberley when you get started.
The HOTS model was pioneered by the Causeway Vineyard Church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, but it has now spread across the UK with groups in towns all around the country. For instance it has been happening in Reading, Andover, Winchester and Woking. Try putting ‘Healing on the Streets’ into a Google search or YouTube.
Healing on the Streets launches in Camberley on 29 January 2011, to run on Saturdays. For more information, contact Andy firstname.lastname@example.org