What is the power of prayer?

I believe that the power of prayer is first felt inside of us. It's a sense of God's assent, somewhat like someone answering our phone call....

Creating a Sacred Space

Written by Renée Miller

Silent stairwaySpiritual practices in religions around the world include some form of focused prayer or mindfulness. Whether it is meditation, centering prayer or simple awareness, spiritual depth occurs when there is focus and singularity. The number of possessions we have, the amount of material goods that fill our lives, the clutter that seems to gather all around our living areas crowd out attention and focus. Our minds, thoughts, energies are dispersed in myriad directions, and in the cacophony of competing claims on us, we cannot seem to find our center, our sense of clarity, our touch with the sacred, our experience of God. One way to reclaim that holy core that exists within us is to create a simple space where what is divine may be drawn out.

You can begin the process yourself with the following exercise:

1. Choose an area of your home that you find particularly attractive or peaceful. It might be a room, or a corner in a room. It might be a closet or a stairwell. It might be windowless or flooded with light. The size of the space is not important.

2. Begin to clear out that space until it is completely empty.

3. Bring a chair or a sitting pillow into the room and sit for several minutes, feeling the emptiness of the space.

4. Be attentive to the images and impressions that float across your mind. What do you feel is missing in the space? What does the space seem to "want"? If you were going to meet God in this space, what would you want it to look like?

5. Record your thoughts and ideas in a journal.

6. Begin to bring items into the space one at a time. You might bring such things as a candle, a favorite rock, an icon, a cross, a vase of fresh flowers, a beautifully woven blanket, a holy book, a beautiful piece of glass, a table, etc. Avoid bringing in several items at once because it is much too easy to begin to fill the space rather than draw out from the space.

7. Again, sit in your space being mindful of the change in the space as each item is added. If you feel you have put in too much, take out items one by one just as you put them in. You will know when you have just enough—the space will feel hallowed.

8. When it is "just right," take off your shoes, enter the space, and offer it and yourself to the God who is One.

9. You will find that you do not have to force yourself to go into your sacred space. The space and the Spirit in the space will call you from the busyness of your life into that inner stillness where hope and holiness meet.

Copyright ©2004 Renée Miller