I know I’m not alone in this, only because I’ve seen it in nearly every sitcom I’ve ever viewed, and seen it ever present in nearly every home I’ve ever walked into. I have a chair.
It’s MY chair. Sure, on occasion others might sit in it, but people usually don’t like to. I can’t help but look around carefully when I walk into someone’s house, I don’t want to accidentally sit in someone else’s chair. It just feels wrong somehow.
This is how we align the spaces in our home, we mark out little territorial places that are our own, my drawer in the bathroom, the space for my tea in the kitchen, the place my remotes go so that I can find them (and reach them from my chair!). It is a natural and good thing, but it leads me to ask the question, “Where is your place for prayer?” Chances are, you already have one, a favorite nook, a breakfast table, or maybe a seat outside near the garden. More often than not, it seems this place just magically happens, we know we should pray, we do it where it is convenient, and then that is the new habit, the new ritual. Nothing bad here.
But what if you chose a space, created a space for prayer. What if prayer was so central to your life, that you needed that space as much as a kitchen or a bathroom?
It’s certainly not a new idea, people have been doing this since the dawn of time, and the tradition has always been strong among Christians throughout the centuries. It seems a shame to see this venerable tradition slowly fade away. There are no rules on how to do this. Maybe you could have a little bookshelf where you could place a crucifix and a few saints portraits that inspire you. Maybe you could upgrade to having a nook with a special chair with all your favorite prayer books nearby and a couple candles. Or, if you have the space, you can go crazy, and dedicate an entire room to a small interior prayer chapel. Why not?
Several years ago, I did this, and it changed my life. I took a badly used portion of my bedroom, and turned it into a little prayer altar. I grabbed a short bookshelf, walked around my house and grabbed my favorite art, went to the arts and crafts store to buy some fabric, and I went to town. Some hammering and nailing, a few pictures printed on my printer, and I had a place to call my spiritual home. It’s in nobody’s way, and my days start and end there. It is simply the most centering place in the world for me. Every season, I even change my “altar cloth” to the liturgical color! All of my prayer books are there in one place, marked and ready to go. Awesome. Super awesome. Super holy awesome.
I love it so much, that I’m about to build one for the whole family out of a section of a big room we have that has too much wasted space. I’ll share that with you when I’m done, but I figured I should show my old one to you before I go and build the new one. Enjoy.