Ross and Lucy Hill lead one of the newest 24-7 Prayer Communities in Dublin, Ireland, and were commissioned as a Boiler Room at 24-7’s conference in Geneva, 2016.
Here, they share their heart and story:
What’s your link to 24-7 Prayer?
We’ve had a connection with 24-7 prayer for many years, but in 2013, the 24-7 Prayer Conference was hosted in Dublin and we asked what an expression of prayer, mission and justice would look like in Dublin. Now we’re the Dublin Boiler Room!
What is your vision?
We love our city and believe God does too, Dublin has one of the youngest populations in Europe. It’s a creative, vibrant city that has experienced monumental changes in the past decade.
We want to see people encounter Jesus. In a nation where people are increasingly disillusioned by the institution of the church, we long to see people experiencing God’s incredible love for them.
How do you foster and grow community?
Hospitality is at the heart of our community. We have a saying - there’s room at the table - so whenever we gather it tends to be around food; feasting is a core value!
We gather every Sunday - sometimes we share communion and eat together, other weeks we worship and learn together. And usually when we meet, we pray!
We give each other permission to speak into one another’s lives, and encourage, challenge and share together. We’ve journeyed through some painful times as a community and in that reality, we have been strengthened.
Our key verse is Matthew 5:16:
“Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”
What does prayer, mission and justice look like for you?
The thing about being called 24-7 Prayer is people assume you pray all the time - but being a small community, 24-7 is a bit of a stretch, so we do what works for us. We’ve experimented with other ways of intentionally praying in our prayer space. We also have 3 weeks of prayer and fasting throughout our year which have been really special.
We believe God is already on mission in our local community - our job is to discern & join in! Being outside of a known denomination gives us freedom, but also means it takes longer for people to accept we’re not completely weird!
We have an arts group that gather, a book group in the pub, and we’re really excited to recently be exploring social enterprise as a community. Our local park hosts a farmers’ market and we have a stand there, selling baked goods and working to train and employ young adults with additional needs.
We partner with an organisation called Serve the City who work with some of the most vulnerable and isolated across Dublin. As a small community it’s so important to partner with others who are already responding to needs in our community. We’re also connected with Tearfund, which reminds us that we are part of a much bigger picture!
What do you feel like God is calling you to right now as a community?
We want to create spaces for people who have questions, doubts, aren’t even sure they believe, to find a place where they can journey with a community of people who are centred on Jesus. Someone who’s part of our community, on that journey, recently wrote this:
‘This is a place of community. I am accepted without judgment or pity. It’s ok for me to disagree and not conform. It’s ok to be messy. I like being here in a group that is genuine and kind to each other. When I’m here it’s great that I can draw and be creative - it’s how I like to listen and it’s how I’m learning to pray again.’
What are the highlights and/or challenges of where you are at right now?
As a small, growing community you’re often caught in the tension of living within the reality of your resources, but also having faith for God to show up and do exceedingly more!
At the start of this year we felt God tell us to create more room at the table; we feel like this is about finding a new space to gather, as the space we have at present isn’t very accessible. So we’re really asking God what’s next.
What’s your advice on growing as a community?
God always brings us back to ask: “What is in your hand?” Whether it’s prayer walking, practicing hospitality, or serving the poor - ask God what you can start using.
The reality of community means it isn’t always easy - growing together requires each of us to show up willing to serve one another and to not be easily offended; to hold things lightly; to learn to laugh and to be prepared to be surprised by what God might do when we commit to the journey together!
Find out more about 24-7 Prayer Dublin on their website.
This is the fifth part of our Community Roots blog series, unpacking global stories from 24-7 Communities. Find out more on the series homepage.