Have you ever noticed that prayer is a tricky spiritual discipline to get started and stick with? Over the years I tried everything I found online or heard in sermons to become better or more consistent in prayer. Most of those ideas failed and I was left feeling guilty about my apparent lack of spiritual strength. Then I started a prayer garden and things changed.
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What is a Prayer Garden?
As a child, I remember roller skating down the street, noticing a house with a beautiful garden. Flowers were growing everywhere and had spilled over along the outside of the fence. I rolled over, snapped a pink flower off to take home to my mom only to find myself face to face with the owner of the garden.
“This is my prayer garden,” chastised the owner, “please ask before you steal my flowers.”
She came outside of the gate while I was debating skating away at top speed. I remember she was gentle and kind as she handed me a pair of sheers and waited while I snipped another flower for my mom.
“What is a prayer garden?” I asked, confused that she was now helping me instead of lecturing me. “A prayer garden is just a garden planted to be prayed in. It’s easier to pray surrounded by beauty than to pray closed inside your house with chores staring at you.”
How Do I Make a Prayer Garden?
Years later when my prayer life was dry and my guilt was mounting I remembered that sweet Prayer Warrior. I often walked the neighborhood, or rode or skated as a child and she was always sitting in her prayer garden. Her life was hard but she always seemed gentle and kind, ready to stop and chat with a curious child. It must have been because she was always praying.
That was when I decided to start my own prayer garden. The problem was that up to this point I had killed every green thing I’d tried to grow!
“How do I make a prayer garden when I have a black thumb?” I remembered asking my Granny one day.
“A prayer garden doesn’t have to be big or elaborate. Just find things that bring you joy to look at and make a place to sit among them. It doesn’t even have to be outside.”
3 Elements of a Prayer Garden
Okay, I could do this. It sounded like I only needed 3 things to create a prayer garden.
- Find space.
- Pick the flowers or other beautiful things that spark joy.
- Set aside a place to pray in the midst of the beauty.
Step one: Find Space
At the time I lived in a small apartment. There was no yard space but I had a small patio.
The patio worked but there are always options to fit your situation. Since then I’ve lived in places without even a patio so the prayer garden was set in a window sill by a chair. Now I have a home with a lot of yard space and have a garden by the front window that I can either look out or sit beside.
Step Two: Pick flowers or Other Beautiful Things That Spark Joy
A prayer flower garden is a great idea and anyone can start this type of garden. You could try to grow the flowers from seed or you could buy them in pots already started from a local shop. I personally killed every flower I grow from seed until I discovered bulbs. Until then I bought plants and there is no shame in that!
There are so many spiritual garden ideas to think through for adding more beauty to your prayer garden. You could make or buy :
- prayer garden flags
- angel statues
- stepping stones with crosses or scripture etched in them
- solar garden lights
- any other thing that directs your mind back to God.
Step Three: Set Aside a Place to Pray
The thing that sets a prayer garden apart from any other garden is that you pray in it. You may prefer to pray while standing or kneeling pulling weeds, but I prefer to sit.
When I was younger I kept a small cushion near the garden to sit on or kneel on. I also tend to keep the garden near a window so that when the weather is bad I can sit beside the window and still see the beauty of the garden while I pray. As I got older a cushion is just not enough so I have a chair beside the garden outside now. Find what works for you and enjoy this space.
The Benefits of Having a Prayer Garden
Why have a prayer garden? What are the benefits of having a prayer garden? You can clearly pray anywhere at any time, but it can be tough to clear your mind of all the busyness and chaos of the day and focus on God while praying.
If I had a nickel for every time I started out praying through my list and ended up making a grocery list I’d be a rich woman. Can you relate?
A prayer garden is a simple way to get your mind off of the busyness, the to-do lists, the chaos of relationships, and the world crisis long enough to connect with God.
There are at least 5 clear benefits of having a prayer garden:
- A prayer garden clears your mind.
- Creation reminds you of God’s goodness
- A separate space removes distractions
- Gardens/work deters interruptions
- Gardens connect you to Jesus
A Prayer Garden Clears Your Mind
Life is busy. There is never an end to all the things that need to be done. Anytime I slow down to pray it seems like my mind takes that quietness as a time to re-assess my to-do list.
A prayer garden is a great space to clear your mind. When I sit to pray in my spiritual garden I am not reminded of the piles of laundry, the sink of dishes or the splatters of slime the kids left on my walls.
No, the beauty of nature helps clear my mind allowing me to focus on God and spend time talking with HIM. This is part of my prayer strategy, clearing my mind of the distractions of life, that has changed everything for me!
Praying in Creation Reminds You of God’s Goodness
The world is filled with hate, violence, and crime. The news plays 24/7 and if we are not careful we can become just as jaded and cynical as the world we live in.
Praying, while surrounded by creation, helps remind me of God’s goodness. I sit watching the bees sipping from my dahlias and pansies and remember how God created the world.
God had a perfect design for every part of creation. He planned the way the flowers would grow, the way the bees would play a part in the process, the way the morning dew would help, the way the birds and squirrels would spread the seeds. God’s design was perfect. One day God will come again and restore the perfect design.
Sitting in prayer among the things God created reminds me to trust God and wait on His timing.
Related Post: The Beauty of Creation: Seeing God Through Nature
Praying in a Separate Space Removes Distractions
Not only does a prayer garden help clear my mind from all the tasks left to be done, but it also removes the distractions of those things calling to me.
Tell me if you can relate to my struggle.
I start out sitting on the couch, Bible, notebook, and prayer journal in hand and realize I don’t have a pen. Getting up, I walk over the desk to find a pen but realize the kids left slime open and it has oozed down the desk to the floor and become matted to a pile of things at the wall. An hour later I realize I never made it back to my prayer time but instead have cleaned the slime, reorganized the desk, and stared on the laundry.
There are few distractions in a prayer garden. It’s beautiful and peaceful and prayer can happen then.
Gardens Deter Interruptions
One of the most unexpected benefits of a prayer garden is the way it deters interruptions. When my husband or kids see me headed to the garden they assume I am gardening. Gardening is work and they will rarely interrupt me for fear I will ask them to help.
A garden is a great way for busy moms to find 5 minutes alone with God!
A Prayer Garden Connects You to Jesus
The last benefit of creating a prayer garden is that this space will connect you with Jesus. The Bible talks about gardens and farming often. The culture in Biblical times – and every other time before about the last century – was heavily agricultural.
These were all normal everyday things for most of our ancestors. We have lost touch with these pieces of our heritage. When the Bible talks about weeds and the fallow ground we rarely understand the deeper meanings because it doesn’t connect with our modern lives.
Gardening, in a small way, helps us connect with these Biblical analogies.
Jesus often went apart to pray and some of these times we are told He prayed in a garden. WWJD? He would have a prayer garden.
It’s fun to sit in the garden and pray while imagining Jesus sitting with you.
Sit with Jesus in His Creation
Would you sit with Jesus in His creation? A prayer garden is a perfect way to do this. Starting a prayer garden is a simple as 1-2-3.
- Find the space.
- Pick the flowers.
- Make a place to sit.
The benefits of having a prayer garden are well worth the effort and time you will invest in growing the spiritual discipline of prayer!
If you are creative you can start a prayer garden anywhere on any budget! Here are just a few extra tips to help you get started.
Start A Prayer Garden Anywhere
It sounds simple to say you can start your prayer garden anywhere, but I’ve seen it done!
Remember my Granny who said, “A prayer garden doesn’t even need to be outside”? She lived alone in a small elderly community apartment. Her prayer garden was a few plants that hung in the corner of her dining room and sat in her little half window. Today I imagine her in the gardens of heaven talking to Jesus face to face. They got started there so long ago it must have felt natural.
If Granny could have her prayer garden in a one-room nursing home, you can find a way.
Start A Prayer Garden on Any Budget
The idea of a prayer garden could quickly become too big and overwhelm your budget.
I love to recycle things I’ve used in other places to make my garden shine. I start plants inside in old jars. We save the kids painted rocks to decorate. Be creative and thrifty if you are on a tight budget.
If you have some wiggle room, don’t be afraid to stroll through the Dollar Store to find pieces to decorate. You can often find kneelers and chairs at Goodwill. This does not have to cost you a lot of money!
Use Your Prayer Garden
Last but not least, schedule time in your week to use your prayer garden. It’s just a garden if you don’t pray in it. Remember that what we schedule and prioritize get’s done.
Write it on the calendar.
Put a reminder in your phone.
Go pray in the garden.