Room for Me Here

Vicky Allen from Dunbar shares with us her personal reflections on the 24-7 Prayer Scotland Gathering back in February.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect when we signed up for the 24-7 Prayer Scotland Gathering in February. I didn’t know how many people would be along, or who else we might know, beyond the few of us coming from our wee town. I didn’t know if everyone would be a seasoned 24-7 Prayer “pro” apart from me. But what I did know was it felt important to come, to learn, to listen, and to pay closer attention to what God seems to be drawing our little community further into. And as far as I’m concerned, any chance to visit Dundee is a good thing, so what did I have to lose?

So we arrived, blown into the city on a strong tailwind and snow flurries swirling around us. Familiar faces found us before we even entered the building. Is there any better way to feel welcomed and wanted than to be asked to give a hand? We helped friends carry some boxes in, instantly and inadvertently changing our arrival status from “almost late” to “helping to set up”. My vague anxieties dissolved as we met people, chatted and sipped coffee. It became clear that this was a gathering where I wouldn’t be seen as an outsider. There was room for me here too.

The day flew by, and now I’m left with memories of stories that were told, which felt like signposts for ideas that our little community have been mulling over. I’m left with a deep sense of the sacred, of how good it is when God’s people are in harmony amidst diverse expressions of the Kingdom. I’m left with a treasure trove of possibilities and potential to explore.

You ask me what it was like, really? It was like…like gathering at a well, drinking life-giving water, hands on shoulders as we draw the water together. Like cupping hands to scoop the water over our heads, a fresh baptism of sorts, and then holding up the hands of others, wearied after working so hard for so long. It was like eavesdropping on beautiful stories as we move through the crowd, hearing punchlines, twists and turns in tales which are still being told. It was like a big messy family get-together, smiles and laughter and tears amongst all ages, everyone watching out for the little ones, no matter who they belong to, and reminding them they are part of this too. It was gathering at the well and remembering the well has enough for us all, there’s no hurry, no need to press forward or to leave. There is a wide open invitation to this well.

And so, in the end I have this. For a little while now I’ve been reflecting on the word “poiēma” which is translated into “workmanship” or “craftsmanship” as used in Romans 1:20 and Ephesians 2:10, and is apparently also a root of the word poem. This sparks my imagination. Us – you and I – a uniquely crafted God-poem. I left the Gathering with such a sense of the poetry of God, manifest in our scattered and gathered lives. I imagine our poem-lives flying into the world like small birds on the wing. I imagine each of us, singing our poem-songs so sweetly individual, with the urgency and delight of the coming spring.

Vicky Allen is a communications consultant for a small Scottish children’s charity, with a parallel passion for creativity in general and writing poetry in particular. She’s part of Discovery Church Dunbar, a young church plant which loves to meet in the wide open spaces of East Lothian’s coast and countryside as much as possible.

Oor Scootlund’s Identity

Our 24-7 Prayer Scotland Gathering was this past Saturday. It was an incredibly special and significant day and we will be sharing more about the day in weeks to come.

But one of the best parts of the day was the time of worship and prayer, standing all together as one on the enormous map of Scotland as we declared God’s hope and purpose over our nation.

A highlight of that time for many there was the poem below written by our team member Rachel Dhillon and there have been many requests for it since.

The poem is something that flowed out of Rachel’s heart recently as she sat praying and processing with God on a Scotland-bound train following our annual 24-7 Prayer EuroLeaders training weekend.

She had been pondering how when different nationalities are invited to pray in their native language, that we as Scots somehow feel we are not included in this. And a fire began to burn in her heart to see Scots stand unapologetically in their identity as Scots, to remember and cherish the rich Christian heritage in this land and to believe in and fight for the soul and purpose of this nation in prayer and in unity.

These words are the result of that fire lit within her, words in the heart language of Scotland.

A’m wantin’ tae see revival o’er oor land.
Fur oor folk tae staun oan the shudders o’giants.
Fur bairns tae na langer sit under th’ breid line.
Fur ilka body tae hae a hame.
Fur Scootlund tae wance again be a steid o’ beauty ‘n’ justice.
A’m wantin’ tae see Scootlund reclaim oor identity.

Ye huvtae understaun that ath’gither we huv a braw wee story.

We staun an we fought th’gither, we gret th’gither, we laughed th’gither, we aw sung th’gither, we raaged th’gither, but aboon a’ else, we loved th’gither.

We ur a faimily.

We ur a nicht warrior nation. Fae the Hielands tae th’ Borders, tae Glescae tae Auld Reekie. We ken oor faithers ‘n’ oor mithers ‘n’ th’ faith.

Thay said let Glescae flourish thro’ th’ preaching o’ thy word ‘n’ th’ praise if o’ thy name. An guid auld Scootlund wid be a land o’ th’ book. We mind th’ revival in the Isle o’ Lewis ‘n’ th’ battle fur oor nation.

‘N’ no it’s about time again; tae mind oor Scootlund’s identity.

As a nation that shouts withoot fear I’ a’ brass neck, that stauns in unity w’ yin another, whaur poetry ‘n’ songs ur written ‘n’ where justice flows lik’ water. Sae th’ day, we staun’ere ‘n’ say, that in this land, Oor God Reigns.

When Life is Blowing a Hooley

Kathryn shares some encouragement with us around what to do when life is feeling too big for us.

How do you feel when you come back from a weekend of training and equipping? Do you return exhilarated by the plans you’ve made and all the things you’re now going to do?

I recently returned from such an event and I did not come back filled with hope, passion and ambition for the next year here in Dundee.

Now, let’s be clear – the weekend I was at was incredible. Filled with amazing people and times of connecting with like-minded leaders in 24-7 Prayer from all across Europe, which was poignant on such a significant day as this past Friday was. We had teaching from wise leaders who have gone before us. We ate great food and spent time sharing our stories around the table. We sat with our teams, both reflecting on the past and dreaming for the future.

But when I got home it wasn’t the usual exhaustion I have when I go to such events. Spending a night curled in bed watching Taylor Swift’s new documentary on Netflix wasn’t going to fix the kind of weary I recognised in myself.

If I’m being honest, it wasn’t physical exhaustion at all – but rather a hopelessness. Hopelessness at the scale of what God has placed on my heart. Hopelessness that everything is too big, too far gone, too dark for light to break into. Asking God questions of “what difference can I make?

By chance I was working from home the day after I returned from this training weekend and so I went for a walk up Dundee Law on my lunch break to clear my head, take in the panoramic view of the city and talk to God.
I stood at the top and, though it was bright and dry for once, it was blowing a gale. So much so that I was forced to stop, plant my feet and lean against the wall of the viewpoint.

So how do we stand when we feel like we are being knocked down?

As I leaned on the wall, gazing out over the city and the Firth of Tay, between gusts of the piercing cold wind, I realised that I have to lean on God. When I’m not leaning into him, remembering that he’s bigger than me, my worries, and my doubts, it’s no wonder I’m left feeling depleted and hopeless.
Leaning against the wall meant I had a support. I was better equipped to withstand the wind. Yes some gusts hit me harder than others, as too shall the challenges of life, but I swayed and was resilient to the punches. I wasn’t knocked down.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2

As I stood, I noticed where the sun hit the city, lingering on the hills of Fife, and the way the river glistened as it crossed under the Tay Bridge. Choosing to see the beauty.
We need to share our stories, the stories of what God is doing. We need to share the beautiful – and we equally need to share the difficult times. It helps to build our faith, it helps when life gets tough.

So what are you going to do the next time life blows a hooley?
Lean in to God, rest on him.
Share your story and seek the stories of others.
Then we may all stand a little taller and be a little stronger for whatever comes our way next.

Kathryn Ritchie is part of the 24-7 Prayer Scotland Team where she helps to bring clarity and definition. She is also part of the Dundee Prayer Space community where she lives – and where we will be holding our annual 24-7 Prayer Scotland Gathering on the 22 February! Kathryn is passionate about Scotland and a good cup of tea!

Your Invitation…

Since Advent our blog site has slightly resembled a duck – all quiet on the surface but furious activity going on under the surface!

Some changes are currently being made to it because some fun changes are happening within 24-7 Prayer Scotland! There will be more to come on that soon but for now we wanted to share wee bit about the 24-7 Prayer Scotland Gathering happening on 22 February in Dundee and make certain you know that you are invited!

24-7 Prayer International is very much a global family and our annual wider Gatherings reflect that.
Here in Scotland, it is our desire that our annual Scottish Gatherings provide the same sense of family, of “tribe” for all who join us for that day.

We host these Scotland Gatherings for the three-fold purpose of encouragement, relationship and prayer.
Encouragement happens through story-telling, bringing glimpses of what God is doing across our world and across our own nation of Scotland. And it happens through someone each year bringing a short word God has given them specifically for that day and gathering.

Relationship happens through conversations over tea and coffee and lunch, and hearing one another’s stories. This year there will even more opportunity for relationships to develop at our evening ceilidh!

And then we always conclude our day together with a good time of worship and prayer for our beloved Scotland and praying for one another as well.

Much like the wider 24-7 Prayer Gatherings hop around various European cities, we have been hopping around as well – Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow – and this year Dundee. Next year, you ask? We are asking that question as well.

We have had some great times together. But this year feels especially significant. There is something significant about being in Dundee at this time. We have some exciting changes and updates to share about our Scotland team and to celebrate.

Yet there is something more. There is the sense that something is stirring in the land, God is moving. Within 24-7 Prayer we have been talking about “rising tides” of prayer and unity globally. In the midst of so much chaos, brokenness, upheaval, division and even despair – there is a sense of hopeful anticipation rising and steadily, quietly spreading across the globe. And across Scotland.
Along with that sense of hopeful anticipation is also coming a rising seriousness, focus, consecration even. A sense that it is time to get ready for the things we have half-heartedly been praying for by praying whole-heartedly. And also by making way for greater unity in the Church, removing those things that have been barriers to relationship. We are seeing the more and more churches coming together and embracing, repenting, forgiving and celebrating diversity rather than fearing and judging it then seeking God’s presence and face together.

I was privileged to be at a prayer gathering of ministers and ministry leaders in Dunblane two weeks ago. Over one hundred of us came together and wept over and sought God for our beloved nation of Scotland, among other things. There has not been this number of ministers from across such a wide variety of expressions of Christian Church come together simply for prayer and fasting since the 1980’s.

God is doing something.

So on 22 February in Dundee, we want to invite you to join us for a day of story-telling, increasing this hopeful anticipation; of learning through various seminars; of relationship and pushing deeper into unity through eating, worshipping, praying (maybe even dancing in the evening) together ; and a time of prayer and worship over our nation and for one another. And then if you want to stick around, a time of fun and celebration in the evening with food, dancing and creativity.

For details and to register for the day part of the Gathering ( it is helpful if you register so that we can make certain the soup is ready for you ) click here.
And for details and to book your ticket for the evening ceilidh click here.

We hope to see you there! And if you can’t make it but you still want to connect in with 24-7 Prayer Scotland more in some way, just give us a shout at scotland@24-7prayer.com.