Life in Community: The extraordinary story of Kahaila cafe - 13 Jul 2017

Kahaila is a café and church community in the heart of the city of London with an incredible story.

Recently we chatted to Paul, the owner and founder and here he shares their vision, mission and link to 24-7 Prayer:

"Don't ask for the ordinary - ask for the extraordinary."

Kahaila is a merging of two Hebrew words – “Kahila” means community and “hai” means life. Together they form “Kahaila” meaning life in community, which is the vision of what we’re trying to achieve.

After being part of one of the first 24-7 Prayer Boiler Rooms in Reading, UK, prayer was absolutely natural to the vision for Kahaila -  It all started with prayer. We prayer walked up and down Brick Lane, London for 18 months, trying to decide what was the right thing to do.

Looking back, this season of waiting really pushed us forward in prayer. At one point I realized that whether the café succeeded or failed, it was nothing to do with me, but everything to do with God. However, to make the café happen, we needed to raise a lot of money.

One morning I was woken up really early with a phrase from God in my mind, “Supersize me”. I prayed about what it meant. I felt God was saying, “Don’t ask for the ordinary - ask for the extraordinary.”

So we started praying for the money to open the café. Initially I started praying that we would raise £10,000 in the six weeks we had. But I felt God was challenging me as I prayed, saying “Is that it?!” – so I prayed again, this time for £20,000. Again, I felt God reminding me to “supersize”-  to take His word seriously – so I asked, with bit more boldness, for £40,000.

Six weeks later, we had raised £60,000. God exceeded our expectations. In that time, and even now, the words from Joshua 3:5 were what we looked to:

Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

-  Joshua 3:5

It felt like before we opened, we’d had a season of consecrating ourselves in prayer and in trust to God. Business increased so fast in what we did, and it was amazing. Along the way, we set up a safehouse for survivors of human trafficking;  a bakery to support women from vulnerable situations  in to employment, and  a prison project – all because we wanted to meet the needs of those around us.  

However, things got harder. When everything gets busy, it’s more difficult to focus on God and take that time to invest in prayer.

We were approached by the City of London Corporation to make an offer for a new café they’re building in the heart of Aldgate. We won the rights to operate the new café, because of our heart to build and serve the local community.

The building isn’t open until the end of 2017, so we asked if there was anywhere we could use in the interim – and we were given a café with extra space upstairs.

Initially, we had no idea what to do with the space; but at the time I was reading Dirty Glory, and felt really inspired to honour God all over again by creating a 24-7 Prayer room.

Now as a Church community, we have a space to press in and rely on God. And it’s right in the centre of London. This summer we’ll simply be praying in all of our Sunday meetings – learning together to listen and to intercede for this new part of the city of London we’ll find ourselves in.

God is faithful, and our hope is that we can really discern the next steps and as a community really invest in London, together.

 

Based in London?

Head to Kahaila, Harrow Place, to pray in the 24-7 Prayer room during their opening hours (as well as drinking good coffee and eating delicious cake!). 

Find out more: kahaila.com 

 

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