June 29, 2010

prayergrove11 Well it’s not really a “grove”, per se – maybe it’s more like an alcove or a grotto? – but one of the nicer little areas we’ve created on our property is what I call my prayer grove. It’s situated between the west side of the front of our house and a wall that begins our neighbor’s east yard. The prior owners had the good sense to plant two large beautiful red bougainvilleas that, when we first came here, filled the entire corner. Two years ago, I got the inspiration to turn it into something a little more than that, and it’s become my own little prayer/meditation area.


It’s amazing how a simple bench, a few religious items, a table, and a variety of stone products can do to make an area cozy, peaceful, and, yes, holy. And it truly is holy ground – last Spring, after Carmelo our landscaper did his magic trimming and I put everything in place, I consecrated the area with holy water from the Byzantine Catholic church up the street. And if it came from a Byzantine Catholic parish – I mean, you know its gotta be holy!


Here’s the view from the bench where I sit and do my morning prayers whenever I can. Sundays are the easiest, in between making coffee and feeding the rabbits, and calling my folks to see how they’re doing. Weekdays are a little tougher – here on Pacific Daylight Time, my company’s workday is well under way by the time morning coffee is made. One of these days I’ll learn to get my lazy ass out of bed 45 minutes earlier and hit the prayer grove before the rabbits demand my attention. God only asks that I love Him with all my heart, mind, and spirit (Mark 12:30). Unfortunately, that that kind of reverential love seems all too often reserved for me and my needs alone.

The best prayer offices come from the monastic breviary I got during one of my retreats at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, New York. They follow the Benedictine tradition and I enjoy using their Matins as the structure for my morning prayers. A good balanced office with prayers, Old and New Testament readings, and Psalms that I like to chant to myself.

One of our neighbors came by one morning while I was doing my prayers and said she was really impressed that one of her neighbors would set up a “shrine” (her words) in our neighborhood, and asked me if she could use it from time to time. I said sure. (I don’t know if she has…)

One good thing about having my prayer grove in the front of the house is that, whenever the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses come by and try to convert me, I can always point to the prayer grove and politely decline. It always seems to work.

This is the best of the year for doing morning prayers inside the prayer grove. The bougainvillea are out big, but not so much that they really start to assert their space – that will come in a few weeks! And when there’s a soft breeze, my neighbors’ king palms make a beautiful whooshing sound as they stir, reminding me of how God speaks to us – maybe sometime it’s as loud as a clap of thunder, but more often than not as a whisper from the deep recesses of our souls. The morning sun filling the area with its warmth, the birds chirping, the king palms stirring – it may be just a humble prayer grove, but it’s a little sanctuary in the cathedral that is God’s creation.

Pool temp: 91 degrees

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:01 | Comments (2)
  1. what a lovely sacred space you have created…the peace is there for sure. I have my spot behind the house where my yellow swing is that dad surprised me with…I take my drum and lodge prayer song cd’s and sing my prayers in Lakota to the Creator. My peace is there.

    Comment by Jana — June 30, 2010 @ 5:44 am

  2. Sounds great! Send a picture and I’ll post it as a followup.

    Comment by Cubby — June 30, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

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