Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My prayer closet

I have debated for a long time whether or not to share this with others on my blog, but I have decided it may be a good thing. When we bought our home in November of 2007, one stipulation that I had was that the home would have a place devoted to prayer and devotion. I believe it is vitally important for Christians to actually devote such spaces in their homes for this one and only purpose for many reasons, but mainly because it stands as a witness that we need to pray. Just as the kitchen and dining room stand witness that we need to eat, the bedroom stands witness that we need to sleep, the living room stands witness that we need to rest and spend time with our family, and the bathroom stands witness to the fact that we need to do other things (let the reader understand!), so too a space in the home devoted to prayer and meditation on Sacred Scripture stands witness to our need as Christians to pray, praise and give thanks.

So, in our home office there is a small (3'X3') closet that my wife and I both decided would be a good place for a prayer space. Now, the pictures that follow are what I have done and I do like icons and candles. It is not necessary to have these things, but it helps me and is a faithful confession of the Evangelical Lutheran faith. I do not post these pictures to brag or to show how "holier than thou" I am, but the use of a prayer closet or devoted prayer space has been a great source of blessing to me as a Christian and as a pastor and I encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to devote their own spaces to prayer and meditation.

This prayer altar is a cabinet I got at a garage sale and painted. The icons on the three sides are (from left to right), The Blessed Virgin Mary with the Christ Child, Our Lord's Crucifixion, the Archangel St. Michael. One of the most important things about my closet is that it must be centered on Christ and Him crucified.
These pictures should give you the main idea of what I have done with my prayer closet. If you have any questions of concerns about it, please don't hesitate to ask either in the comments, via e-mail or in person. Everything in this prayer space was carefully thought out that it may confess Christ and Him crucified. Please keep in mind that the use of Eastern icons is my own personal preference, it in no way is meant to suggest that I am swimming any rivers. I am Lutheran and I give thanks to our evangelical freedom that allows any art that faithfully confesses the truth of Holy Scripture.
I also use prayer beads (aka, a rosary) but I do not pray to Mary or the saints. There is one Mediator between God and man, the one man Jesus Christ. They simply help me to focus my attention on the Psalms (and I also use them to pray the Small Catechism).


sam said...

Very nice.

I'm assuming you spent some time (and money!) at Archangels in Maplewood.

I went there for the first time just before the move to WI for vicarage. I wish I had started going sooner!

Rev. Jim Roemke said...

Thanks Sam. Actually, most of the icons were purchased on e-bay. But Archangels is one of my favorite stores and one of the many things I miss about St. Louis!
Thanks for not calling me a weirdo!

William Weedon said...

I love it! I could be very comfortable with the Treasury and praying there!

Chuck Wiese said...

It looks nice. I think you must have added to your collection since I saw it last. For some reasons the pictures make it look bigger to me than it actually is. I also prefer Eastern iconography to most Western art and don't plan on swimming any rivers soon either--I'm not a very good swimmer to begin with. Eastern art, like Lutheran art, seems to always be teaching something with every detail. Plus you get really powerful looking angels instead of effiminate looking ones.

gnesio-lutheran said...

Wow! Beautiful. Inspiring.

As an aside, I am personally acquainted with the Greek Orthodox priest in my city, and have been a guest in his home many times. Surprisingly, his home displays only one (!) icon- a depicion of the OT Trinity.

CyberSis said...

Rev. Roemke, What you have is a little slice of heaven on earth!

AKmamaOf6 said...

When typing in "prayer closet" into the internet I came across yours. I am an Orthodox Christian and in response to gnesio-lutheran I would only like to say that not all Orthodox are created equal, as I'm sure not all Lutheran. When I married my husband (myself being cradle Orthodox and him a convert) I really had to curb his appetite to plaster our home with icons. I don't mind beautiful icons, they are in every room of our home, but I also like pictures of grandparents, kids and also cutesy pictures of chickens, etc. It's also fairly safe to say that the amount of icons on a wall does not reflect what is in one's heart.

I am going to re-post this closet on my pintrest as an "ideal" prayer closet that every Orthodox Christian should consider having in their home. We would most likely add icons of our patron saints and of the Virgin Mary, but it would have the effect. Please understand that Orthodox don't worship the saints, they simply pray to them. Just as if you had a pious grandmother and she passed, you would hopefully not assume she is lost to death, but alive in Christ. She would be closer to Him now that she is with Him and she could intercede on your behalf. We always play directly to Christ also, but sometimes it's good to have a "friend on the inside". We have seen that even God plays favorites in people like Abraham and when Abraham begged God to spare Sodom & Gomorrah if there were only 50, then keeps pushing that limit with the God of Love and finally down to only 10 righteous men. God agrees with him because of his deep love. It was Christ's own mother who convinced Him to turn the water into wine at His first miracle. What love a son, that Son, must have for His own mother must be very very great.

Thank you for sharing your beautiful room, I'm sorry to leave such a long post.

-Silly Anna in Alaska