Have you ever noticed how often we divide up the spaces in our house? Each room has its purpose and even in the same room there can be different spaces: a space for studying, for resting, for having fun, for eating a meal… This division can be really useful and can help us to concentrate on the duty at hand, but it remains a division. Is there a space that unites? A space that, even while maintaining its distinction, integrates everything else into one movement of life? Yes, there is a space that does this: the space of prayer.
In the previous Spring of Water, Sr. Clara mentioned the importance of finding an adequate place for prayer, before explaining the method of the 3 R’s. This time, we want to look more in detail at this “prayer corner”: why is it important and how can we create it in our own home?
In the first place, what is a prayer corner and why is it important? A prayer corner is a place dedicated to our encounter with the Lord. Often we speak of the importance of fixing a date and time for prayer. This importance extends also to the place in which we pray. As human beings, we are not made of head and heart alone – with which we can put into practice the 3 R’s. We are also made of hands, feet, back, legs… That which we do with our body – our posture, what we perceive with our 5 senses – influences all that we do with our head and heart. The place in which we pray – that which we see, touch, smell, hear, and taste – is not disconnected from our reading, reflecting, and responding. And so, like in a church or a chapel, our prayer corner should have traits that help us to pray.
Why does this space unite all other spaces of our life? It is the presence of the Lord that unites everything. I think the year 2020 gave all of us the occasion to spend more time at home and even in our own rooms. Because of this extra time, I was able to personally experience the dynamic of a prayer that unites everything else. The spaces of my room which had been previously well defined had one thing in common: the presence of the Lord. Whether I was at my desk studying, on my bed resting, or on my mat doing physical exercise, everything happened in his presence. It was enough for me to glance at my prayer corner to remember that he was there, that he remained with me even outside of my formal time of prayer. It was as if he was inviting me to live everything with him, to be aware of his presence, and to seek him in every moment.
How can we create a prayer corner in our own home? The best thing about make one’s own prayer corner is that we can truly make it our own! A prayer corner is our creation that reflects who we are and who God is for us. Therefore, it is important to know ourselves first. Our way to pray, how we put ourselves in the presence of God, what distracts us and what helps us to concentrate all influence the creation of our prayer corner. Here are some questions that can help us with this…
- Which room in my house seems to be the best for my prayer corner (where is there silence, sufficient light, the possibility to close the door, enough space to invite family or friends…)?
- Which images or titles of Christ or Mary accompany me the most? (ex. The Good Shepherd, Our Lady of Guadalupe…)
- What saints do I invoke most often? (ex. St. Joseph, St. Therese…)
- What “tools” do I use most in prayer? (ex. the Rosary, the Bible, a book of meditation, a journal…)
- What touches of beauty would I like to see? (ex. Flowers, a candle, particular colors…)
The practical things… Once we have reflected on our way of prayer, we can choose the room in our house that seems to be the best place for our prayer corner. Perhaps it is the living room where the whole family can unite or maybe it is our bedroom where we can have our privacy. In that room we look for a place to begin creating. For the base, we can consider using a small table or even an empty box that we cover with some fabric. We can organize the images, prayer tools, and touches of beauty in a way that seems to be conducive to prayer. In the end, we make sure that we have the possibility to sit comfortably near this space for our moments of prayer. There are many different ways to create a prayer corner. Be creative!
Check out this video for an example of how to create a prayer corner in your home!
For who does not yet have a prayer corner: I will begin to gather the necessary information for the creation of this space by reflecting on my experience of prayer thus far: what are the characteristics of my prayer? What images of Christ or Mary speak to me the most? What saints to I invoke often? What prayer tools would I like to have there?
For who already has a space for prayer in their home: What can I add to it to make it more personal? How can I allow this space to unite all of the other spaces of my home?
This month’s reflection is by Sr. Cherise Klekar.