When Anand Bheemarasetti purchased a home in the Highlands neighborhood, he knew it came equipped with the rooms he needed—living room, dining room, bathroom, bedroom.
Yet he decided the Lord of his life needed a room also.
“I think God, being the most important person in our lives, should actually have space, too,” said Anand, who lives in the northwest Denver home with his wife, Lindsey, and their two children. “He deserves a room. In fact, it is his house, and we are sharing it.”
They created a room they call the “icon room” or “prayer corner” that includes a cross, icons, kneelers and chairs, that invites one to enter for quiet prayer and reflection.
“If people have exclusive places for prayer, every time you walk by it makes you feel a sense of reverence,” Anand said. “In a way that room calls you. The Lord calls you to have a relationship with him.”
Families and couples across the Archdiocese of Denver set aside spaces in their homes to reflect their relationship with Christ as king of their lives and enable them to grow closer to him.
Having a tangible space for prayer is helpful for spiritual growth, said Father Gregory Cleveland, director of the Lanteri Center for Ignatian Spirituality, which provides spiritual direction and guidance on prayer with Scripture.
“The more you can create a place of solitude and have that alone time, just me and the Lord, that’s helpful and conducive to prayer,” he said. “We are body, soul and spirit so the physical surroundings help create the space for that.”
“It was a great center for us,” Deacon Michieli said. “We have busy lives, and we have to stop and slow down and regroup ourselves.”
After moving to Sterling in 1989, they purchased an old convent across from St. Anthony Church. They preserved the chapel inside, with the archbishop’s approval, and added relics, statues, candles, devotional items and chairs.
Open to visitors and guests, the space for up to 30 people is the regular spot for prayer and eucharistic adoration. The couple begins and ends their day in the chapel and use the space to lead Scripture studies, teach novenas and devotions to guests.
“That is our place set aside for prayer so things there remind us of our relationship with God and the importance of prayer,” he said. “As we pray then we allow the Lord to speak to our heart. That becomes very significant.”
As a family, Eric and Christy Hilz of the Neocatechumenal Way found having a time and space for Sunday morning prayer has enabled their young children to better participate. The family room is the family’s space for morning prayer, music and catechesis.
“The kids know when it’s time to do morning prayer, we all meet in the family room,” Christy said. “I think it helps them know this is a time as a family we set aside. It helps to keep them focused and able to participate.”
In the Bheemarasetti home, the prayer room was made to be the foundation of their family, also called the “domestic church” by St. John Paul II.
When Anand proposed marriage to Lindsey, he took her to the prayer room and said he wanted to build a domestic church with her centered on prayer. The room became a symbol of their spiritual journey as an ascent toward God, similar to how the apostles Peter, James and John ascended the mountain and witnessed Christ’s transfiguration.
“That’s how I want to build our domestic church, centered on prayer,” Anand said.
How to create a prayer space
Also called a prayer corner or home shrine, a prayer space is an area inside a home used for prayer, praise and reflection. An altar is a space inside a church that contains a consecrated host.
Below is a list of customs associated with establishing and using a prayer space.
- Set a chair or piece of furniture with shelves in an area.
- Decorate the space to display beauty and make it conducive to contemplation.
- Items placed around or on the space may include the Bible, statues, art, a crucifix, icons, incense and candles.
- Change decorations around the space to reflect the liturgical seasons, such as purple during Lent or green during Ordinary time.
- Play music such as Gregorian chant or classical while meditating.
Place spiritual reading and the Bible inside suitable for children and adults.