I was reminded of a prayer practice when I read our pastor’s plea for “purposeful prayer for a world that is very much in need of God’s healing.” As the California fires continue destroying homes and lives, 2020’s disastrous news — the pandemic, the national social unrest, the economic crisis — is filled with anguish for many. The feeling is often one of helplessness as it all unfolds.
On Tuesday, the news hit closer to home. For the first time we can remember, the air quality reached hazardous levels where we live in Northern California. A few minutes outside, with its suffocating, greyish-gold air, was more than enough.
I came inside to breathe, to focus and to pray, walking from room to room with emotions and memories. I invite you to try this prayer practice with me, letting one room at a time give direction to your thoughts.
In the kitchen, where we are providers of nutrition, think of the seasons of cooking, of family, of celebrating with guests. Be thankful for the planning, bustle and abundance of the kitchen: its spirit of hospitality as well as its convenience for quick refreshment. Treasure your kitchen’s unique aromas and its offering of favorite dishes. Ask God for opportunities to extend hospitality to strangers, to cook for the community with love and peace. Be the church in your kitchen.
Stand in the entry hall, where guests have arrived, and pray that the welcome mat is dusted off soon. For now, remember the arrival of friends and family, sometimes bearing small gifts or flowers. Their smiles and hugs. Right before the quarantine, we had some dear friends over for high tea — never realizing that six months later, we’d all still be looking at the spring floral place cards as a sweet memento of that day.
Now, let’s move to the living room. This is where, in our home, we have books, treasures from travels, comfortable furniture. It’s a room of leisure, of exploring, sometimes sharing with friends. Pray that your words here be uplifting, that your conversations are a blessing. Ask for reminders to speak wisely, thoughtfully, graciously. Remember to listen and ask God for empathy. Be open to learning. Take this knowledge into a world with all its differences of racial inequality, pain and lack of faith. Be the church in your living.
The family room is often nearby and some have a fireplace, reminding us of how important it is to kindle the flames of love in the world. Think of the protection we feel in this room from the good lessons in our upbringing, from knowing our Father. Be grateful for parents, for God’s commandments. Be the warmth and wisdom in your family.
“We are all here for a reason; be open, responsive and mindful in your purpose.”
In our home, we have a studio and a study — rooms of purpose, places to explore our gifts and sometimes share them. In my husband’s study, he studies and writes; in my studio, I create as an artist and also write. Here, I most often encounter God’s Spirit and direction. I see the sun rise and set and enjoy its wonder. I discover what creativity is, through God, and ask how I can make a difference. We are all here for a reason; be open, responsive and mindful in your purpose.
Let’s walk down the hall to the bedroom, a room of rest and renewal. Feel gratitude for the miracle of bodies that serve us in so many ways. Here, we appreciate solitude and the awareness of God’s presence in it; we can kneel or even lie flat in prayer. At night, I often dream — of loved ones in heaven, of better ideas than I have while awake, of a world in which I’m a visitor. In this room, the day begins and ends with a few words of humble gratitude or inspiration. “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 is so important to remember in these days. Feel eternity in your space of rest and renewal.
Finally, let’s enter the bath, the powder room. A necessary room, to be sure. These days, I do a quick check on how long my hair has grown and might pamper my feet a bit. At some point years ago, as I was washing my hands, I realized that I should consciously aim for both outer and inner cleanliness. And so this piece sits as a reminder behind the sink.
Sometimes when I read these words, I admit that my attitude may be off-kilter or I’m reacting to news that is beyond ugly. I’m all too often aware of the evil and darkness out there, of destructive agendas. I wish for a clean heart. In the bathroom, let hope and a right spirit transform your thinking and keep you on God’s path.
Prayer is such a gift to us. Let’s take it to every room in our home and into the needs of the world. It is truly the difference the world needs now.
Phawnda Moore is author of Lettering from A to Z. She lives in Northern California, where she coordinates international mail art exchanges. Find her on Facebook at Calligraphy & Design by Phawnda or Instagram at phawnda.moore.
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