I have friends whose purses are as well-stocked as a pharmacy. If anyone needs an aspirin, some chapstick, or a band-aid, they are always prepared.
I'm not that person. Even at home, it took me a while to establish a solid supply of batteries, flashlights, and other necessary emergency items. In fact, I can remember the day I finally stock up on those essentials. It happened after the power went out—for almost a week—in our neighborhood in Indianapolis during an ice storm. That situation taught me that being prepared is essential. Now the shelves in my pantry are stocked with emergency items.
But it's not just physical preparedness that is important—spiritual readiness is essential, too.
This global pandemic has shown us that we should have essential items for our spiritual needs. Finding peace in these unsettling and uncertain times is not easy, yet we can—hopefully—find this sense of stability and hope in our own homes.
One way to do this is to create a "prayer corner" in your home.
A prayer corner can be any space in your home—no matter how small—that invites prayer and reflection. If you intentionally create this space, it is more likely that you will use it for the purpose of spending time in prayer or spiritual reading.
I remember my pastor asking us parishioners in a homily once, "Do you have a special place to pray in your house?"
The question surprised me a little. I had never really considered dedicating a particular spot in my home to prayer. But once I did establish a special spot, it has fostered thoughtful meditation and prayer.
This is more important now than ever. Due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, most Catholics are not able to physically go to Holy Mass—our best option is to livestream Mass at home. Placing just a few items—such as a crucifix, a candle, or a statue—near the place where you watch Mass can instantly create a more prayerful atmosphere.
Even when we are able to go back to Mass, having a prayer corner is important for your prayer life. It encourages us to take time out of our busy days to be with Our Lord.
If you have a family, creating such a spot in your home serves another essential purpose: it shows your children the importance of making time and space for God. And making the home a bit more sacred is a great way to offer up our daily labors to God.
Especially in these uncertain times, let's remember the "essentials" that impact our souls and help our homes reflect the love, dependence, and trust we have in God.
Here are some suggestions for your prayer corner:
1. A Bible
It's important to have a good translation of the Bible at home. This Ignatius edition is fantastic. If you'd like to browse through some more options, you can do so by clicking here.
2. A Mary Statue
The "Our Lady of Grace" statue is beloved to Catholics. And every Catholic home benefits from having a statue of Jesus, and even figurines of family member's patron saints. You can find a whole collection of statues right here.
3. A Decorative Lantern for Statues or Candles
Small statues display beautifully in this decorative lantern. Candles might work well, too. (Just be careful, and keep an eye on live flames!) If you'd like other options for decorative lanterns (some with sympathy themes, or inspirational themes) you can click here.
4. A Saint Candle
Light a holy candle during prayertime or a livestream Mass. It really does help create a sacred atmosphere. You can blow it out as soon as the liturgy (or your prayertime) has ended to help the candle last as long as possible! There are more candles here, if you're looking for a different saint.
5. A Flameless Candle
6. A Catholic Prayer Book
It can be so helpful to have a book of traditional Catholic prayers. They really do guide our conversation with God, and help us form our thoughts and petitions. When you feel dry or discouraged, turn to a good prayer book, and let it inspire you. There are many more good prayer books right here.
7. A Classic Spiritual Work
Spiritual reading is crucial for the interior life! If you've ever wondered why you feel like you've been in the same spiritual place for a long time, rather than growing and advancing, it might be because you're in need of spiritual reading. St. Josemaría Escrivá's books are so practical and helpful for laymen. You can also find other good spiritual books here.
8. A Standing Crucifix
Standing crucifixes are the best. You don't need to hammer any holes in the wall or struggle with Command Strips. This little St. Benedict cross can be placed just about anywhere—it's small, and therefore portable. But you can also find a larger standing crucifix and find a perfect spot for it in your home! There are more standing crucifixes here.
9. A Holy Water Bottle
Now that we can't dip our hands in the holy water fonts at church, it's important to have a proper receptacle at home that you can fill and keep in a place that's easily accessible to the family. There are more holy water bottles here.
Learn why holy water is so important: 8 Ways To Use Holy Water
10. Sacred Images
Sacred art lifts our hearts and minds to heaven and reminds us that God is always with us. There is more beautiful sacred art here.
This unique Holy Family Icon has a five-sided Gold Frame and measures 8"x10" There are more icons here.
12. Prayer Cards with Inspiring Quotes and Bible Verses
We all need hope and encouragement on rough days. Prayer cards—and especially these cards that feature sacred art and Catholic quotes—are ideal for keeping close by. You can read one each morning, as you face a new day! There is a vast selection of prayer cards here.
Do you have a prayer corner or home altar?
If not, will you make one—maybe give it a special devotional theme?
Let us know if you'd suggest anything helpful for a home altar!