07 January 2014

Building a Prayer Chapel

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet..." (Matthew 6:6)

Throughout history people set aside sacred space in the home for prayer. This can be found in all the great religions. Growing up Protestant we would pray at the dinner table or the side of the bed, but the attitude was that you can pray anywhere so why build a specific place. 

My interest in sacred space began when I became Eastern Orthodox. I ran out an bought some icons of Christ and the Theotokos, then our patron saints. Later I entered Communion with Rome and married a sweet Catholic girl so we added some statues to our prayer corner. We gather there for prayer at least every night and other times too.

We moved into a rental that didn't have a good corner to put our chapel in. The solution was to get a bi-fold closet door at the Habitat Restore for $5. 

One side was against a wall and the other side was by the front door. The great part about this is that I was able to mount a shelf and coat hooks on the back side.

I added hooks to the side for Rosaries and chaplets. The small decorative shelf made a nice place for candles, Holy Water, and other "prayer-a-phenalia".

The arched frame and shelf for the Divine Mercy image I found at a rummage sale. It has a nice shelf on it for candles. Originally it was a mirror. Some black paint made it coordinate with the cross and shelf.

A rounded corner shelf made a nice table when I put a table cloth on it. This gives extra storage underneath for books and seasonal items for Lent, Pascha, Advent, and Nativity.

When it came time to move I searched for ideas for the new chapel, saving them to a Pinterest board. Since this was another rental I wanted to prevent putting a million holes in the wall, so the bi-fold doors could be used again. Unfortunately a smoke detector meant that I needed doors that were smaller and narrower. On my trip to the Habitat Restore I found a roll of wallpaper that would work perfectly.

I scored some glass corner shelves at the Flea Market that could hold the wait of a statue when mounted using hollow wall anchors. Again I used the corner shelf and table cloth.

Here are some more pics of this chapel:
Top of the chapel
Middle of chapel

Bottom of chapel
Though I had ideas on what I wanted to do, part of the design and development occurred through prayer and asking God what He wanted the chapel to look like. I also asked the Blessed Virgin Mary to assist me. I truly think they directed me. When I finished building it my 11 month-old son came out of his room, looked at it, and knealt down for several minutes. I guess he approved.

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