There’s a reason the Christian world, whether in a small Midwestern town in the U.S. or on the streets of Rome, is dotted with spaces meant for prayer. From earliest times, people on spiritual quests understood that space mattered. It mattered if the space for prayer was crowded with worshippers or if it was a solitary monk’s cell. It mattered if the halls echoed music or silence or noise from the street. It mattered what the space smelled like, what colors covered its walls or floors, and what textures met the hand or the skin—a soft breeze from the window or a cold stone bench.
We have spent centuries creating spaces that help us pray. Many of these spaces have survived as grand cathedrals or quiet abbeys. Some of them are more like museums now. But still, it matters where we dwell for a time of communion with God. It matters in my own town, on my own street. It even matters right in my own home.
During the summer months, pay attention to the various spaces in your life. In fact, this week, wander your ordinary, daily routes and make some notes about the rooms, backyards, gardens, workspaces, and commuting paths (whether you commute by foot, on bike, in car, bus, or train). You can begin by answering these questions:
- How does this space make me feel physically? Am I relaxed or anxious, stimulated or bored, comfortable or fidgety?
- What do I feel like doing when I’m here? Closing my eyes and resting, or reading or thinking or working on my schedule or to-do lists? Having conversations?
- Does this space remind me of any significant events, people, or places from my past—and if so, how?
Do a little space inventory this week, and, if you like, share with us what you discover.