Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
One of my “dream house” rooms is a walk-in closet where I can contemplate my clothing choices on any given day. My reality is that though my closet is bigger than anything I’ve had in previous homes, I cannot just walk into it. I still have to put clothes and accessories away in bins in order to make room for the next season’s wearables. Living in Chicago doesn’t allow for clear transitions of seasons anymore so my clothes are bunched up because everything must be accessible at any given moment. I know you share in my frustration!
I remember watching War Room a few years ago and being envious of any woman who could walk into her closet to pray. Our own New Life chapel had a private prayer closet and I loved using it. Imagine, a little, private space where deep and intense prayers could be experienced without interruption. All of my Christian life, I’ve heard of people who have designated a space they refer to as their “prayer closet.”
I don’t have a prayer closet. I have, what I will call, prayer spaces. There’s a prayer chair with a side table in my bedroom. My home office has served as my prayer space on many occasions. My work office, when the door is closed, has witnessed prayer moments as well. I don’t have a wall in any of those spaces where I can post numerous prayer petitions. I have a wooden frame where I clip prayer reminders; it’s far from being a wall but for the most part it’s sufficient.
The Bible instructs in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.” One of the shortest commands in the Bible. It is allotted a numerical designation though it is only three words long. I hope you can see the emphasis in that. Prayer is important and if we can agree to define it as “a devout petition to God or an object of worship” or “spiritual communion with God…” then we can also agree that prayer is an essential part of living a Christ-centered life.
I grew up with a mother who prayed for hours at a time. Whenever I called my parents’ home before 10 a.m. my father would remind me that Mami was in her room praying and that she’d call me when she was finished. My mother-in-law prays for extended periods of time, interrupting it only when my husband calls her. These women have been and are prayer warriors. My older daughter prays in the shower; the younger one in her apartment when her hubby is at work. I know women who pray together and others who pray by themselves.
Jesus gives us an outline for how we should pray in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. In both accounts the prayer is presented as a teaching. The components are clearly laid out for us to follow. In fact, when I was a child, my mother taught to us to pray the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish and I still default to it on occasion. The psalms also serve as good examples of prayer. Most especially lament prayers. King David was exceptional at crying out to God when he was hurting or in the wrong. When Jesus prays in John 17, he prays for himself, his disciples and his followers. In none of these examples are we told where prayer should take place. The closest Jesus comes to saying what we should not be doing in prayer appears in Matthew 6:7, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” Where we pray doesn’t appear to be the issue of concern for Jesus. The Bible clearly offers different models of prayer but not locations. People pray at the temple, in upper rooms, and at shorelines. There’s prayer on the mountain and in the valley; in the belly of a fish and the aridness of a desert.
I used to envy my husband because he could shut everything down on Mondays and pray. I don’t have a day off that I can dedicate to prayer. I do reach points in my life when I’ll tell my family that I need some time alone with Jesus but I don’t follow a schedule. For me, praying happens throughout the day, anywhere where I find myself in need of connecting with God, and at this point, it’s a constant need. In fact, everywhere I stand or sit is my prayer space. I commune with God in the car, the office, the meeting room, the counseling office, the waiting room, the grocery aisle, the restaurant booth, the elevator, the airport and so on and so on and so on. Come to think of it, I have the biggest walk-in prayer closet in the world. It says in 1 Chronicles 16:11 that we are to seek the Lord’s face and strength; his presence continually. Unless I’m willing and able to stay put, I better pray wherever I find myself. According to Psalm 116:2, when I call on the Lord, “He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.” It matters not where I am or whom I’m with, God hears me.
Let us pray: Lord God, gracious and merciful Father of heaven and earth. I find myself in this space, open and willing to draw my thoughts in line with yours in the midst of noise and movement. It is where I stand and where I sit that you call me to commune; you are not confined to quiet and solitude spaces. I take this moment to glorify your name and exalt you as my King of kings and Lord of lords. May all that I say and do bring you glory. Amen!!!
Daisy is the director of counseling at a private university. For many years Daisy has had a passion for the discipleship of women (learn more at ratedgdiscipleship.com). Daisy lives in Chicago with her husband Rico. They have two daughters, both of whom were married in 2017.