Creating Sacred Space for Prayer
Ritual is a part of our everyday life. Most of us have some form of routine. We have a time we wake up and go to sleep. A favorite sport team or television show to watch on a given night. We have a go-to CD when we want to lift ourselves out of a funk. Having a prayer practice means ritualizing and making regular the practice of prayer.
Preparation 1: Intend your space to be holy.
Space for prayer supports or ritualizes the practice of getting quiet within oneself, centering, and spending time Spirit. Preparing an external space for prayer requires first and foremost internal intention. Intention is a strong power that directs energy from within outward. When we intend a space to be sacred, it is. It’s that simple. We can be in the middle of a supermarket and realize it is holy. You and I determine the quality of and the way we receive space.
Preparation 2: Choose your space.
We can really stop there, but we’re not going to because we are beings that like beauty and enjoy creating. We can choose anywhere within our home to be our designated prayer space. It can be a corner, a chair, a room, or an outdoor sanctuary. I have done each. My home now boasts a subtle altar in each room with one room dedicated exclusively for prayer. A friend of mine had a garage built on her property as a personal and community temple.
Preparation 3: Choose reminders of what you value and love to go into the space.
If you aren’t sure on the “where,” don’t rush yourself. Try praying in different areas of your home and see if there is a spot that calls out to you. Once you’ve chosen the “where” then determine that only that which you deeply love is in that space. Sacred means holy, blessed and connected to God. I interpret this as that which I feel with my heart and deeply love. I have a favorite red prayer chair with a comfy cushion and large arms on each side that my father gave me in my sacred prayer corner. I have an antique bookcase with my favorite meditation books in it and a carved table next to the chair. On top of the bookcase is one of my mini-altars with carved figures and favorite stones. I have the Buddha to remind me to be compassionate with all. I have Mother Mary and Qu’an Yin reminding me of the feminine presence of God and all that each woman stands for. And, I have a quartz rosary I purchased when I visited John of God to remind me of the power of Faith.
Preparation 4: Evoke the senses within the space.
Now think senses. I train my senses to point toward God. I think sight that I satisfy through the altar, furniture, photos and statues of what I love. I think sound. I may include sacred music in my prayer area. My go to preference is silence, which is a form of sound, and yet there are moments I am deeply transported through inspiring music. Smell is invocative. It is the first sense we have as a child. To light a scented candle, burn sage, or essential oil shifts the energy of a room immediately. And, lastly, touch. Think of what you can hold in your hands for the visceral experience of the sacred. This may include prayer beads, scarves, rocks, gems, shells, sand, or photos.
Preparation 5: Consistent prayer.
Then, pray. Choose once, twice, or three times a day to pray. You set it up. You choose. You determine what works for you. I typically pray twice a day. I choose in the morning to open my day and at night to energetically complete it prior to dream state. There are some seasons or period of times when I am called to go into prayer intensives where I pray every hour on the hour for nine hours and light a candle with each prayer. The key to ritual is consistency. We train our mind to think God, Divine Love, Peace.