Is your life simple? Do you feel peaceful? Are you stress-free? Can you do the things you want or need to do in the time you have?
Do you feel that as a culture, we are a little too busy?
Perhaps we are too busy. But I think the truly incredible fact is that the average person sees more than 5,000 ad messages per day (up from 2,000 about 35 years ago). Think about that . . . 5,000. As we reconsider all the things that take up our time, let us not forget to consider the effect that media has in our lives. How much of this “busyness” do we feel because we’re used to media and technology continually competing for our attention? How does this affect our prayer?
It may seem strange to you to think about setting up a prayer space in your house. However, when I think about the questions above in my own life, it starts to become clear that noise and random "stuff" that distract me from God and prayer are never going to go away unless I intentionally remove them. I believe we can all agree that saying, "I'll pray later," pretty much means it's not going to happen unless we've already blocked out the time for it.
Now, most of us don't like the thought of mixing business with our spiritual lives, with God, but I think there are some important analogies to help us understand intentionality.
A business without a strategy will fail. If it has no direction and its members don't know its mission or goals, they won't get anywhere. This company will inevitably lose money and go bankrupt. Presidents and CEOs are fired for making bad decisions about the direction of the company. So if businesses can't survive without an intentional strategy, why do we approach our own spiritual lives -- which are infinitely more important -- with little to no intentionality at all? We know we're probably not really going to pray later when we say, "I'll pray later," no matter how much good intention we have. Yet we will spend hours planning the next girls' night, grocery store run, or weekend ski trip.
With this in mind, setting up a prayer space is necessary. It is not just a daily reminder of God's presence in our lives or a place to set up nice pictures, yummy-smelling candles, and our Bible (though these are all helpful). A prayer space is a way in which we can worship God. The origin of the word worship means to give worth to, and so, said a little differently, setting up a prayer space is a place in which we can give worth to God. In fact, it's important so that through our intentional removal of other distractions, through the time we take to clear a space and make it neat, through setting it up in a way that points us to Christ and strategically ordering our day around prayer, we can give worth to God instead of other things.
How do we set Him apart from our other "idols?" Do we set Him apart at all? Would someone be able to walk through our house and know what we give worth to every day, what/whom we worship?
Is it God?
The thing is, Jesus Christ gave us his life. He lowered himself so low in his humility that he became human just to save us, to love us, to have mercy on us. He gave us his very body and blood, not just on the Cross but in the Eucharist as well, in every tabernacle around the world because he couldn't bear to be apart from us.
Can we give him a corner of our room or a space on our desk? Because he is infinitely more important than everything else.