How To Develop A Prayer Rule: Location Matters

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. Then your Father, who sees what you have done in secret, will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6

Sometimes we modern Christians get sloppy when it comes to where we pray, both in physical and mental location. Yes, Jesus and the disciples did pray in places other than a synagogue or temple. However, they had their minds set on prayer wherever they were. For example, in Mark 1:35, the Lord goes to a solitary place early in the morning so that He would not be distracted. Peter, Acts 10:9, went to a roof top for the same reason. The goal of prayer, as said by St. John Chrysostom, is not to instruct or inform God, but to be intimate with Him. If this is our aim, it makes sense for us to have a special place to spend time with the Father.

My early living room icon corner

In the Orthodox tradition, a corner of the home (one facing east) is designated a place for prayer. A table with a Bible, cross, and an icon are all that is needed to set this place apart from the rest of the home. One need not be elaborate. Use what is needed so that when anyone sees it, they will sense it is a holy place.

Icons at my desk

Whether in a room or somewhere else, we should also have our minds focused on being one with God. Prayer isn’t simply a task to be checked off on a “to do” list. While it can be done in a time of need, this reaching out to the Almighty One should not be seen only as an emergency fire extinguisher. At the time of prayer, pause for a moment or two. If you have a cross or icons in your room, reflect on them before you begin. When in nature, admire the surroundings. Tune your mind and heart to God before saying a word. This will put you in His presence no matter where you may be.

Watch a brief video on this topic here

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