Many towns across the UK—and in the wider world—are welcoming teams of Christians onto their streets each week to pray for people in need. In Luton we already have a number of people who pray in teams on a Saturday afternoon from 2 – 4 pm on Market Hill in the town centre. It is part of what God is doing these days in the Church in the West as we seek to engage with people outside the Church.
Healing on the Streets is a gentle and loving ministry that follows a model developed in 2005 at Causeway Coast Vineyard church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland by Mark Marx and others. It is a simple but beautiful way to reach out to the lost and hurting on the streets of our town. Launched in Luton in 2011 by the Town Centre Chaplaincy with the support of churches in the town including Hope, Healing on the Streets enables us to connect with people in the community every week, powerfully expressing God’s love. The teams comprise Christians from different churches in the town, all trained in the HoTs approach with two people leading. St Hugh’s in Lewsey also have a regular monthly session in St Dominic’s Square.
While sometimes we boldly approach people, we are trusting God to draw people by the Holy Spirit. Our total reliance is on the Holy Spirit, we can do nothing without Him. Prayer is a vital feature of what we do, and we have experienced how times of increased prayer have resulted in increased kingdom activity.
Healing on the Streets is a very accepting ministry – the streets are full of broken, hurting people, so we try to minister with gentleness and sensitivity. “He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets.” But we find also that we pray for many different sorts of people, and often for believers.
Whether they are healed or not, people who come to the chairs for prayer should be left in no doubt afterwards that God loves them, and that here are a group of Christ passionate people who truly care and show love.
We aren’t there to preach or argue, but to demonstrate the love of God. We pray for people of all faiths and even on occasion for declared atheists! After all God loves them the same. Very often when we pray it is clear that people feel a sense of God’s touch.
Over the 5 or 6 years HOTS has been going in Luton we reckon that we have had around a thousand meaningful interactions with people. Many of these are people who may not normally come near a church building. It can be slow on a Saturday, it can also be busy but it is always a privilege to have been able to participate. There is always a need for committed team members and there are contact details below if anyone from Hope Church would like to join this ministry. Alternatively if you don’t believe that actively joining a team to work on Market Hill is for you, we would really appreciate offers to support us in prayer. Prayer changes what happens on Saturday afternoons!
Contact details for volunteers: email@example.com
See also: http://www.healingonthestreets.com/ Facebook: HealingontheStreets Coleraine
Written by Geoff Simons