After a lot of prayer and head scratching I settled on the following Lenten commitment. I am spending 30 minutes each day in my prayer closet. 20 minutes of my time is spent in centering prayer and 10 minutes or more is spent in open prayer. I am am using a ‘prayer catch’ and ‘prayer jar’ to strengthen my prayer discipline. I’ll explain. Here is a breakdown of all the elements.
1) My Prayer Closet
Okay, to start with I had one significant obstacle to overcome. I didn’t have a prayer closet. So, two days before lent I stripped out half of my bedroom closet and began converting it into a prayer space. It’s not big by any stretch of the imagination. It’s 26 3/4 inches wide and about 4 or 5 feet deep, max.
Once it was stripped out I built a small shelf to hold my bible, a prayer jar, and my prayer catch. I plopped in a chair and thumb tacked up a curtain to separate it from the rest of the closet. Here are some pictures of the prayer closet.
2) My prayer jar
My prayer jar is the glass jar with yellow paper in it on the right side of my prayer shelf. The jar is an old candle jar. There are 40 yellow slips of paper with individual names or the name of a specific group on them in the jar. Each morning I pray and pick a name. I prayer for that person or person(s) off and on throughout the day. For example, today I am praying for shut-ins. The first day I prayed for someone specific. After I draw a name, I place it in my prayer catch as a reminder throughout the day.
My Prayer Catch
My prayer catch is a small notebook that I picked up from Books-A-Million. I like it because it is small enough to fit in my pocket, holds an ink pen, and has a couple of pockets in the cover where I can place the name I drew for the day or other prayer notes. It also has a magnetic latch that keeps it shut tight. I jot prayer needs in it that come my way during the day and review it in the evening.
A funny thing happened on the way to the prayer closet…
I have heard it said, that if you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans. I did all this prep and haven’t been able to use the closet but once. On Ash Wednesday I had to drive to St. Charles, Missouri because of a medical emergency in my family and have been out of town ever since. So here’s what I did to maintain my discipline.
I brought my bible, candle, prayer jar and catch with me on the road. I set out the candle, prayer jar and bible at on my bedside table in my parent’s home. This setup serves as a small prayer space while I am on the road. Each morning I say a short prayer and select my prayer name for the day. I tuck it in my prayer catch and head to the hospital. In the hospital, I go to the chapel and spend 20 minutes in centering prayer. At the end of the day when I get home I light my candle do my bible reading, review my prayer catch and then spend at least 10 minutes praying before bed. It’s a good substitute until I can get home to my closet.
I will keep you posted on the lessons I learn in my closet, from my jar and from my prayer catch. Blessings to you on you Lenten journey from,
The Practical Disciple