Prayer life for families is easily postponed – or even forgotten – as parents face busy work schedules and children participate in extracurricular lessons, athletic events, and games.
Amid so much activity, however, a family’s attention to daily prayer is more important than ever. One way to ensure that prayer retains its priority is to set aside a prayer corner in a quiet area of the family living space.
“The prayer corner must offer a small space in a quiet area where it’s easy to pray,” recommends Sister Monica Vianney Le, catechist at Christ Cathedral Academy. “In the prayer corner the most important item is the crucifix. It must be elevated above other statues or art to ensure the cross is first in mind.”
Adding a kneeler or some pillows, a small table with an altar cloth, and a Bible, missal, or prayer cards makes the prayer corner conducive to meditation, group prayer, and individual contemplation.
Prayer corners are important, Sister Monica says, because they help ensure that God is ever central in family life. “With the prayer corner in a central part of the home, it’s easy to lift our hearts to God and be aware of our emotions and what we say to each other.”
As an ever-present reminder of God’s infinite patience with us, the prayer corner compels the entire family to become more Christ-like, she adds. “Every time we pass by we are reminded of who we are as God’s family.”
Having a dedicated prayer space in the home promotes the habit of daily prayer for children to carry into adulthood. Sister Monica recalls that when her brother’s family travels, her niece knows that they must pray before bed even when they’ve traveled late into the night. “They take the time to pray where they are in the car, so that they don’t forget to pray before they go to bed,” she explains.
Accessorizing a prayer corner with fresh flowers and candles can make the space more inviting, notes author Gretchen Filz in a 2016 story on catholiccompany.com, “How to Create a Home Prayer Corner in Four Easy Steps.”
Filz notes that the peace and inner strength we receive in prayer can carry us through the ups and downs of our frantic days, weeks, and months. “It also helps you to keep your priorities straight by putting your relationship with God above all other things,” she writes.
A story by Sharon Ely Pearson, “Creating a Prayer Space at Home,” on buildfaith.org, a ministry of the Virginia Theological Seminary, offers creative ideas for the family prayer corner:
• Create a portable prayer space that is brought out just for family time. Put together a prayer box out of a gift box or a plastic storage tote filling it with sand, stones, shells or a cloth.
• Arrange a quiet place to sit and reflect: a comfortable chair, books, and quiet music.
• Adapt an outdoor spot that provides beauty, shelter, and solitude.
• Incorporate a prayer space into a child’s room.
Prayer corners reflect family values. On my prayer table, I use a pretty embroidered tablecloth made by my grandmother’s mother. I ordered a Byzantine-style crucifix and accessorized with candles, prayer books, and a crystal dish that holds an heirloom rosary.
Whatever your style, wherever you place it, a family prayer corner places God at the heart of your home to remind family members that prayer is central to each day.