This article first featured in Jesus Life magazine Q3 2005.
The Northampton Jesus Centre has witnessed some remarkable events. Jesus Life reports.
HEALING RAYS, the name of the group, comes from Malachi: ‘But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings,'” explains team member Dave Howell. “In a book on healing, I discovered ‘wings’ could also be translated as ‘rays’.”
Twenty-nine years ago Dave was told he had the ministry of intercession. “After a while I realized it was my particular ministry, and moved into a healing gift,” he recalls. “The first brother I prayed for, we were amazed to see the pain went!”
Every Tuesday morning Dave, together with Ann and Tony, assemble in one of the Jesus Centre’s skills rooms and wait to see who will come through the door.
“The three of us work very well as a team,” says Ann. “Tony is very prophetic. Dave brings healing and deliverance. And I have discovered a gift of discernment.”
All sorts of people, Christian and non-Christian, come looking for healing for their body, soul or spirit. Ann has seen many ‘God happenings’ with the group.
“One lady was obviously very distressed. People are usually reticent but she just sat down and started talking. She had grown up knowing God (her dad was a vicar), but had rebelled and delved into the occult and hypnosis. Now she was climbing walls, literally, was about to be prescribed anti-psychotic drugs, and was really scared. ‘Help me please,’ she said to God.
“We spent the whole two hours with her. She arrived stooped and sad, and went out glowing!
“The next week she was back with a friend who wanted to get herself right with God. We encouraged them in their vision to start healing ministry in their own church.
“Another week, two elderly ladies came in. One had severe sciatica. I had a word of knowledge: ‘By this evening you’re not going to have any pain.’ And she didn’t – not that we knew that for some time afterwards!
“A young South African was referred to us by another church member. He had been very badly damaged, first by rejection from his birth mother, then by abuse from a step-parent, and finally, by a very bad trip after eating some magic mushrooms. We did our usual praying bit. Dave led him through a prayer of repentance, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and he started to speak in tongues.”
Church members are welcome to join the group too. “One member with HIV has been so much better since he has been receiving regular prayer. His doctor says he’s the healthiest HIV patient he has!” says Ann.
“We are just the channels of God’s power,” says Tony, “and as we are obedient to Him, He can do what he wants through us.” “Being an intercessor has given me more empathy for people,” concludes Dave. “And seeing results is a tremendous encouragement to believe for more things to happen.
“We just want more people to come along!”
A special post from Steve Jones, the Northampton Jesus Centre manager.
Everyone has a story.
Rob first heard of the Jesus Centre when he was hitch-hiking to work, having got a job out of necessity twelve miles from where he was living and being without money.
The driver, Simon, invited him to Church and to the Jesus Centre. Since then Rob has been coming to the Step Up virtually every day before work. He says there’s a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the Jesus Centre and it helps him to use his time constructively, and now he has his own place life is a bit less stressful and he’s also started attending Jesus Fellowship groups at Cornhill (one of our Jesus Army Church houses) as well as the Northampton Jesus Centre.
The beauty of the Jesus Centre for me is the way it nudges us into the path of so many visitors who come for any number of reasons. To me each person is a gift and it is a privilege to show love in some way to each one. The other day I was thinking of some of the reasons people come here:
A meal or a drink in the Circle Café
Help finding accommodation
A cup of tea or coffee
To collect their mail or giro
To check emails
For someone to talk to
Just to get warm and dry
To drop off dirty washing or to pick it up again clean
To learn or improve their English speaking and writing
To receive prayer or to pray in the prayer room themselves
To make new friends in a Jesus Centre group or activity
To pick up some warm socks or other clothing
To browse an exhibition or art installation
Jesus Centres are a great way of showing off God’s love to 21st century Britain : Compassion in Action.
Main photo courtesy of ngould.