The days of quarantine have made everyone struggle with the isolation from family and friends. And with a ban on social gatherings—which includes religious ones—many have found themselves missing being in an actual Church.
While many churches have made use of technology and adapted to live-streaming services of Facebook and YouTube, praying in front of a screen doesn’t feel the same. So why don’t you take this time to create a prayer space in your home? (Read: Here’s Why You Feel Tired in Quarantine — and What to Do About It!)
Many Catholic Filipino families have altars in their homes. However, these are most often just being there, accumulating dust. (Read: 5 Ways to Achieve Peace of Mind Amid the Pandemic) To help you start making your own prayer space, we give you five questions to answer before you start to create a cozy and inviting prayer space that will surely motivate you to keep a closer connection with God and with yourself.
#1. Think About Location — Indoors or Outdoors?
Of course, you can’t be in the great outdoors right now, but if you have a small balcony or a garden, it might relax you a little bit to have your prayer space there. (Read: Cop These Home Design Tips From Bea Alonzo and Maris Racal)
If you live in a small space, or you might find the outdoor too distracting, you can also set up a prayer space indoors. Or if you have a porch or lanai in your house, try to see if you can do a prayer nook in there as it brings together indoors and outdoors.
#2. Think About Ambience – Music or Complete Silence?
If you want an ambient sound while praying, make sure to choose relaxing music that is not too distracting. Nature sounds tend to enhance the experience for some people because it makes them feel closer to nature. You may also choose to listen to prayer songs or YouTube videos of rosaries and novena. (Read: 5 Spiritual Podcasts To Strengthen Your Faith)
But remember that sometimes, complete silence is key to communicate with God. Have variations—you can have music/sound today and reflective silence the next day.
#3. Think About Displays – What Do You Want to See?
Look around your house for objects and furniture that would make the prayer space more inviting and comfortable. Perhaps you have a battered but comfy couch, or a bench in your backyard. Do you want to have candles and other icons while you pray—a crucifix, a Marian image, the rosary? (Read: Here’s What the Pope Wants You to Know About Praying the Rosary) You can also place fresh flowers on your altar every day to make the place more inviting and colorful.
#4. Think About Fragrance – What Do You Want to Smell?
Nice smelling perfumes, aroma oils, and scented candles can make wonderful things to our senses. It’s because we often associate smells with various emotions and experiences—like the smell of Jasmine could take you back to days when your lola would take you to church every Sunday, or the smell of lavender is how your mom smells whenever you hug her. (Read: 10 Prayers from the Bible to Inspire Change in Your Life)
An aroma can stimulate or relax the human body. Hey, there’s a reason why worship spaces through the centuries have involved incense and other fragrances, no?
#5. Think About Lighting – What Time Do You Pray?
Consider the lighting in your prayer space. Sometimes, it’s nice to pray and see the sunrise because it gives a sense of new hope. Or maybe you would like to pray with a backdrop of the sunset? Pay attention to how your mind and body respond to different kinds of lighting. Soft light can do wonders for your focus.