A Certain Place

prayer chair

The room where I quilt, the arms of my husband, and sitting in my inherited wingback chair are some of my favorite places.

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and his friends asked him to teach them to pray. (Luke 11:1) I always focused on the words of the Our Father that follow. But today it was that certain place that stopped me in my mental tracks.

Perhaps the first teaching on prayer, for the disciples and for me, is awareness of place.

Each morning I sit in that comfortable wingback chair, an inspirational picture hanging above the fireplace I face. Some favorite icons surround me, and to my right is a sliding glass door to the backyard. An end table holds colored pencils and pens, as well as a small pad of paper where I can jot down distractions that surface while I pray. On my footstool are a Bible, two journals, and a couple of prayer books I find inspiring at this point in my life.

If Jesus had a special place for prayer, it was certainly not at all like mine. I tried to use my imagination to visualize where Jesus was praying.

  • What kind of place was it?
  • Was it carefully chosen or found at the spur of the moment?
  • Where did Jesus choose to pray before teaching the Our Father?

My imagination didn’t get very far in this vein.

Lately, I’ve been distracted a lot during prayer; my mind wanders. The cell phone pings with a text message; my eye turns to a movement outside the window. Yet this chair is a designated place where I go to meet God every day. Why today am I overcome by undisciplined thoughts?

I’ve returned as days go by to pondering that certain place where Jesus prayed. And over time, something new arose for me.

Are you certain of your place?
Your place is with God. Always.

I have a place in God’s plan of Salvation.

I assume Jesus prayed every minute of his existence. After all, prayer is relationship with God, and Jesus never left that relationship. Jesus must always have been certain of his place.

About Loretta Pehanich 34 Articles
Loretta Pehanich is a spiritual director and author of Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. She is involved with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Sacramento and its program in giving the Spiritual Exercises. She has more than 20 years of experience in ministry, including retreat work and small group leadership. Loretta currently works as a fundraiser in Sacramento. She and her husband have four children and nine grandchildren.

15 Comments on A Certain Place

  1. Place has always been very important to me. I have had to move house so many times for various reasons.
    I am presently just 4 weeks into the latest move!
    It comes with all kinds of things to be done. At present I have found a space in the living room with a view to an oak tree .So I am sat here.
    I remember that Christ had no place to lay his head. His mother was often driven from one place to the next. The Jewish people of the old testament were a people on the move.Today’s refugees as Francis reminds us are crying out for a place. Can I be that place of refuge for another to rest and pray. Hoping we can all find our oak tree.
    Then I remember Come to me all you who ate weary and over burdened…… We can rest and find our place in Him. Take his hand walk in his garden.
    Love and prayers for all those young and old who feel they have no place.
    Norah ❤

    • Yes, Norah, I pray your prayer with you: for all who have no place.

      Iwant to be that place of rest for Christ in the disguise of the immigrant.

  2. The words that spoke to my heart were, “perhaps the first teaching on prayer, for the disciples and for me is awareness of place”. Reflecting on a line/ paragraph of a book that I am reading that speaks to the presence of the Divine in my life and being truly present to someone who stands before me is a “place of prayer for me”. Thank you Loretta for the reminder!

  3. I, too, often struggle with distraction during prayer. And yet the time spent yields great fruit. That’s when I realize I am not the one who does the work during prayer. And HE is ever faithful to me,

  4. Jesus knew His place- in relationship with God constantly.
    Thank you so much for saying this so clearly. I know in my heart that this is what I aspire to also,- thank you for expressing it so vividly for me.

  5. I have three places. No. 1 is in a three season porch with a comfortable chair. There I have abundant nature to appreciate what God has given to everyone. No. 2 is on my living couch. Being 84 years old, I sometimes have a need to be there. There I an able to contemp,ate a waterfall, bench and a pond. Is it with Jesus and we have great discussions. Sometimes Mary appears and we three take a walk. Very energizing .

  6. Loretta.,

    Great reflection today, I have been studying the Lord’s Prayer, we definitely need to find our place to pray.
    Lord once again teach us to pray. Amen

  7. I am fortunate to be able to pray at Mass every day, but my ONGOING prayer to the Holy Spirit is for AWARENESS of His Presence in the DAILYNESS of my life. Each moment of AWRENESS IS a SO grateful prayer…

  8. I like to pray while sitting on my front porch. It’s comfortable and I have a view of some lovely big trees. But you gave me more to think about in terms of setting the right atmosphere for prayer, with some aids like prayer books.

    • You describe your place beautifully, Diane. Thank you.
      I have a copy of the autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux on a dining room side table, and when I walk by, I think of her. She had great love for certain places, especially those full of roses!

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