Power of faith

EVERY Thursday evening, a group of people gather at Ely s Cathedral Centre in the hope of harnessing the power of prayer. They come with a variety of problems but all with one thing in common – the desire to be cured. They ve tried the conventional route,

EVERY Thursday evening, a group of people gather at Ely's Cathedral Centre in the hope of harnessing the power of prayer.

They come with a variety of problems but all with one thing in common - the desire to be cured.

They've tried the conventional route, through their GP surgeries and now they are hoping they will find the answer in Ely's Healing Rooms.

The rooms were set up two months ago and involve four of the city's churches, and the aim is to give people the chance to meet and be healed by God.

But although the rooms are new to Ely, the idea first flourished in America in the early 1900s.

Director Tim Frost and his team have held 57 prayer sessions, involving around eight people a session, since their healing rooms opened.

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He said: "We believe by praying in the name of Jesus, people will be healed. It's a chance to meet God and the power of Jesus.

"We would never say to someone 'don't go to the doctor', but in the end, when the doctor can't do any more, we can go beyond that.

"There is a lot of evidence that just reassuring people, giving them a better sense of worth, will improve their physical and emotional health. But we are offering more than that. We are giving them a belief that they are going to be healed by God. God understands and God can heal them."

The Healing Rooms have been visited by those suffering from cancer; others come with diseases that can't be treated or depression and emotional problems.

Prayers will be offered for any problem that is legal and legitimate and sometimes it can take up to 20 sessions before a positive result is achieved.

A visitor to the Healing Rooms is greeted by a receptionist who will ask him or her to provide some background on a simple form.

Waiting times can be anything up to an hour before the visitor is greeted by one of the team.

A short interview follows to establish the problem and then the team prays with the visitor for about 20 minutes.

"Sometimes people present us with a physical problem, but the sessions end with them talking about a relationship problem," said Tim, who attends Ely's Olive Tree Fellowship.

"In a sense we are listening to God speaking to us and hearing what he is saying to us.

"We have people who come in and say they just like the atmosphere. One person said the atmosphere was healing in itself. But we are expecting and praying for more than that."

Tim and his team are adamant that they are not offering counselling services and would never encourage anyone to throw away their medication on the strength of a cure from the Healing Rooms.

"We are not in the business of saying you are healed now, throw away your drugs," he said.

"From our point of view we would much rather they return to their GP or specialist and have him confirm what has happened."

HEALING Rooms have their roots in Spokane, America as far back as the early 1900s when John G Lake started his Institute of Divine Healing.

The idea flourished until Lake's death in 1935 caused it to lose momentum. It was almost 60 years later when Californian Evangelical Christian, Cal Pierce, began studying the work of Lake and claimed he felt called to Spokane.

He returned to the town and started his Association of Healing Rooms which has now become internationally known.

In the past seven years, the ministry has spread to 20 countries with 410 healing rooms in the USA alone and up to 30 in the UK.

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