People from different religious faiths who visit the Christian Science Reading Room in Stroud often talk about their expectation that healing can come about through prayer.

There seems to be a resurgence of interest in religious healing and some churches in the Stroud area have healing ministries.

In the early Christian church healing was commonplace.

The records of Jesus’ life are full of his healings.

Furthermore, he taught his disciples to heal and sent them out to do so.

His final words according to St Mark’s gospel were ‘These signs will follow those who do believe . . . . . they will lay their hands upon the sick and they will recover,’ indicating that Jesus expected those who followed him to heal.

In the period after his ascension, there are graphic accounts of healings by his disciples and their followers.

However, sometime around the 4th Century Christian healing became increasingly sporadic.

At the end of the 19th Century the Christian Science movement founded a church specifically to restore the centrality of healing in Christian practice.

The church’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, described her own experience of healing, which was directly related to the healings of Jesus, in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

By studying the Bible, she discovered that Jesus’ healings were the direct effect of his perception of each individual as God’s image and likeness.

Jesus loved unconditionally and in the sick, angry, frightened individual in front of him he saw the person God created.

In Eddy’s words: ‘In this perfect man, the Saviour saw God’s own likeness and this correct view of man healed the sick.’

For well over a century, healings have taken place on the basis of this approach all over the world.

At the weekly meeting at the Christian Science church in Stroud, testimonies of healing through prayer are shared.

Last week, a man described how prayer helped to lessen the effects of a severe blow to the head.

Recent accounts at these meetings include recovery from malaria, skin infection, falls, trapped fingers and headaches.

It is wonderful to know that healing can still come about through the power of prayer.