Is Having a Place to Pray Important?
I remember as a young boy often seeing my parents’ bedroom door open a crack and my mother kneeling in prayer beside the bed. I somehow knew I wasn’t to disturb her there because something intimate was taking place. I later learned that this was Mom’s place to daily meet with God.
As I grew older, I think one of the reasons I always struggled with prayer was that I never found a special place to pray, a place many Christians dub their “prayer closet.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus matter-of-factly said, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray” (Matthew 6:6). The King James Version says, “Enter into thy closet,” which is where the term “prayer closet” comes from. Does that verse mean we are to remove the shoes, clothes, and boxes from one of our closets and use that space for prayer? No, the verse is not a command. Jesus was simply saying, “Don’t make a show of your prayers.”
While I cannot see a scriptural command to have a prayer closet, there is a profound benefit from having a specific location in which to pray.
Jesus didn’t have a “closet.” But He did have a time and place to pray. Many Scriptures refer to His going away by Himself at night or early in the morning to pray. He probably found a quiet, secluded place to meet the Father. “Your ‘closet,’” said Sandie Higley in Pray!, “doesn’t literally have to be a closet. It just has to be a spot that belongs only to the two of you, a place that honors and delights the Father and gives Him the opportunity to honor and delight you in return.”
Years ago, a specific chair in my bedroom served the purpose. I would get a cup of coffee and my Bible, and meet God in that chair each day. My little dog, Oscar, loved to join me, curling up on my lap as I begin to read. He was so used to my routine that he often headed for the chair without me at that time of the day.
Is Location Important?
So, am I saying that you have to have a specific place in which to pray? No. But if you want to get to the maturity level where you make time for prayer every day, having a specific place helps. It provides discipline, and more importantly, it makes it easier to enter the Lord’s presence. The things that distract your focus are not present when you have a specific place.
The key is to find a setting where you will not be interrupted. That may mean setting up a literal prayer closet. If you have the space in which to do that, I highly recommend it. Prayer warrior Dick Eastman once put a storage shed in his basement (complete with carpeted floor and walls) to serve as his prayer closet. In his current house, he built a little room under the stairs to his basement. If you set up a specific closet, you can decorate it with things that will turn your heart toward prayer—prayer lists, Scripture, world maps, photos of those for whom you regularly pray, and so on.
For most of us this will mean finding the room in our house where we are least likely to be disturbed, or where we are most comfortable. However, for some, sitting in one spot may not be conducive to disciplined praying. For you, finding a place where you can move is important. Do you know that prayerwalking is a perfectly legitimate form of praying? Take a walk and commune with God as you go. It may even help you to focus better.
Remember, you can pray anywhere, at any time. Having a regular place simply makes communing with God easier.
–Jon Graf is the author of The Power of Personal Prayer, from which this article is adapted. To read a more in-depth article on this subject, go to “Where Do I Pray?” at prayerleader.com. To purchase a copy of The Power of Personal Prayer, click the “BUY” button below. Use code love2pray at checkout to receive $2.00 off the price of each copy.
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