Making room for prayer (literally)
Sometime last year I became familiar with the concept of creating a special space for prayer within your home, either a prayer corner or perhaps a prayer closet. I read multiple accounts of people who created such a space, and all unanimously agreed that it not only transformed their prayer lives but turned their houses into “domestic churches.”
I knew that regular commenter and occasional guest blogger Steve G. had such a space, so I asked him about it. He sent me the following thoughts along with a picture of the prayer closet he created for his family:
The prayer closet is a good sized closet in our home that I have totally emptied, and turned into a sacred space. I have a crucifix, and several icons, holy water, candles, and several shelves at different levels, a prayer ‘rug’ on the floor, my prayer list, the Bible, and all the prayer books I could want. And as I pray I face east, which is (and this was something new I learned) the tradition of Christianity from time immemorial. This idea of a specific sacred space carved out of the home (it can be a prayer closet or a prayer corner) was the major element I took from the excellent Earthen Vessels book that my spiritual director gave me.
I really can’t emphasize the impact that ‘space’ has had on me. That little sacred room calls to me. I’ve found myself, in the middle of the storm (maybe when I am caring for all three kids by myself and they are not listening, and I have no more patience), withdrawing (more like running) to that little room for five minutes to beg for help…and of course getting it. That sacred space in the home (which also historically has been the tradition in most Christian homes) has been the big piece that I think was missing in all my previous attempts. It may not seem like a big deal, but it has had a profound impact.
And I’ll only briefly mention how this space draws the little ones: one of my joys was sitting outside that closet while oldest son took his little sister in there, and closed the door to show her how to pray. To hear him gently showing her (at 2) how to make the sign of the cross. To hear our middle son request that we say night prayers ‘in the prayer closet.’ I hate to keep going on and on, but I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of having this little ‘sanctuary’ in our home set aside for building up all of our prayer lives.
Sold! I knew that this was something I wanted to do as well, but wanted to wait until I felt “called” to do it (since it would be just like me to fixate on creating a prayer closet to the exclusion of actually praying). It’s been more than a year since I first began praying/thinking about this, and I recently got the message: Now is the time.
The problem is, there’s no obvious place for a prayer closet or corner in my home. So I wanted to ask you guys:
Do any of you have a special place for prayer set aside in your homes? Any tips for getting creative to carve out a space like this in a bustling household?