Have you noticed that Christianity often has a language all its own? The pastor really “brought the word” today. I love “doing life” with you! I heard that Karen has been “backsliding.”
It must sound so bizarre to those who aren’t from a church background!
Let’s tackle one of those terms that can be confusing…and not just for those outside the church. “Prayer room.” What is it and what are some creative prayer room ideas that you can incorporate into your prayer life?
What is a prayer room?
In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus warns His followers to not be like the hypocrites who pray lengthy, lofty, and loud prayers, all in an attempt to sound spiritual and be noticed by others. Instead, Jesus offers a different way to pray:
But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:5-6)
A prayer room, then, is just what it implies: a physical space that is devoted to prayer. It’s a place to steal away from the world and spend concentrated and personal time in conversation with God.
Many of us probably don’t have the luxury of having an entire room dedicated to prayer, so we’ll talk in a bit about some creative prayer room ideas that can still serve the same purpose. And speaking of purpose…
Why do we have a prayer room?
If Jesus was the one who suggested going into a private room to pray, then we should pay attention! In fact, He’s rather direct in telling us why, but before we get to His reason, I want to suggest several additional benefits.
1. Being alone in a prayer room allows us to focus.
I know I’m not the only one who can get easily distracted while praying. Suddenly, I’m thinking of the errands I need to run, the dinner I need to prepare, the conversation I had with my husband, and the trip I want to take.
Focusing on conversation with God can become a real mental workout to stay on track. Having a dedicated space can help us center our thoughts as we train ourselves to leave the busyness behind and focus on God.
2. Being alone in a prayer room creates a quiet space.
We all know this principle in our everyday relationships. If we’re trying to have an important conversation with a friend or our spouse, we’re not going to sit in our family room with wild kids running around and the TV blaring. We’re going to escape to a quiet place, a place where we can hear each other.
In the same way, learning to hear God’s Voice in the midst of chaos can be challenging, so finding a quiet space is a huge benefit. Now, this doesn’t mean that we should only talk to God when it’s quiet, but concerted, focused prayer is best done in stillness.
3. A prayer room can allow us to have a more intentional time in conversation with God.
In I Thessalonians 5:17, we are told to pray without ceasing. When we are getting ready in the morning, we can pray. When we are making breakfast, pray. While driving to work, pray. While exercising, pray. I call these “popcorn prayers” because I just pop them up to the Lord throughout my day. But if all I ever do in my prayer life is popcorn prayers, my prayer diet is very skimpy!
Periodically, I need to sit down to a steak dinner with God where I can pour out my heart and listen to Him speak. That takes time. And a prayer room provides the opportunity.
As mentioned earlier, Jesus, Himself, talks about the benefits of praying privately in a prayer room when He says, And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
He’s been warning against praying for the purpose of getting an earthly reward and tells us that a genuine prayer relationship with God, in a private place, brings a true reward. Now, He doesn’t tell us exactly what that reward is, but it’s clearly far better than the praise of men.
And maybe you’ve experienced this in your personal relationships when you’ve spent focused time with someone that resulted in a closer relationship or you were able to resolve a conflict or create greater understanding.
In the same way, focused, private time of communication with the God of the Universe can bring greater intimacy as well as greater trust and understanding.
So, let’s talk about both the “where” and the “how” of prayer rooms.
What are some creative prayer room ideas for “where” to pray?
Jesus talks about a private room, and some people might have just that—a room they can dedicate to prayer. I have a friend who has a small dressing room off of her closet which she has set up as a prayer room. Others might set up a corner of their guest room or another rarely used room.
I have a smallish walk-in closet that I use. I usually drag in a pillow to sit on and I close the doors and turn off the lights. Like I said, I can be easily distracted, so I found limiting things to see helps me focus.
What if I can’t find a “prayer room” to dedicate to prayer?
But what if you don’t have an actual room to dedicate for this purpose? All hope is not lost! In fact, Jesus, Himself, may not have had one either because we read repeatedly in Scripture that He went up on a mountain to pray or stole away to the wilderness to pray (Matt. 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12).
Nature is a great “prayer room.” There is so much scientific evidence that being in nature is good for our mental and emotional health, but it’s also a great way to reconnect with the Creator!
Psalm 148 talks about all of the different aspects of nature which praise God—everything from the sun and moon to sea monsters to mountains and fruit trees. Why not join with them?
Take a prayer walk through the woods. Sit on your back deck and listen to the birds sing, imagining what they are saying in their songs of praise. Settle in next to a lake or stream and reflect in prayer on what it means that God will lead you beside quiet waters (Psalm 23:2).
What are some creative prayer room ideas for “how” to create your space?
Since a prayer room can bring focus and clarity, it can be helpful to create a space that does just that. Here are several ideas for how to make your prayer room powerful:
- Hang up pictures of people you are praying for, whether that’s family members or Chinese Christians undergoing persecution.
- Write out verses you want to pray for yourself or for others. Hang them on the wall or keep a stack to pray through.
- Keep a journal of your prayer requests and check them off when God answers.
So, whether you have an actual physical prayer room or your prayer room is the great outdoors, use it as a way to devote yourselves to prayer (Colossians 4:2).