Prayer gardens give you the opportunity to be close to the elements of nature while praying. It is quite a calming experience to pray in a garden. Here are a few ideas to transform an ordinary garden into a prayer garden.
Prayer is something that is very close to your heart. It is something very precious and sacred. Prayer can mean different things to different people. For the one dedicated to what he does, work could be prayer. Dancing for him/herself could mean praying for a dancer, composing music could mean praying for a musician, while simply being close to nature, being one with the force that drives the world, being in the vicinity and the company of the classical five elements could be equivalent to praying for some individuals. For those of you who belong to the last category, a praying garden would be a wonderful way to pray. Find out here how to make your own prayer garden.
How to Make a Prayer Garden
First and foremost, you have to plan it out on paper; and believe me, you don’t have to be an architect to be able to do this! Get an idea of how much space you have in which to create your prayer garden. Praying is something that is very personal – you may not like being disturbed while praying. Likewise you may not want just anybody to walk in upon your praying premise. If that is the case, divide your garden up into a place the entire family can share and a section that will serve as your praying room. If everybody in your family likes to pray, then you may want to design the garden in such a way as to give each one his/her privacy and space to pray. If you like to pray together, or if there is a part of your prayer that you do together as one family – for example reciting a particular hymn or psalm together – you can instead have one common place where everybody can assemble and pray together. The importance of prayer is irreplaceable in the lives of those who pray; so before you actually go about setting up your prayer garden, make sure you know what you want out of it. The above mentioned pointers can be a good place to start planning.
Prayer Garden Plan
~ Seating Arrangement ~
The seating arrangement is probably the single most important point to be considered while designing your own prayer garden. Do you stand and pray? Do you like to sit cross-legged? Do you like to kneel down? Do you like sitting on the ground, the grass or a mat? Depending on this, you can choose from a patio to be built in the middle or in a corner of the garden, you can have a cobbled walk-way through the garden, you can have a lawn, or you have a clear patch of ground, devoid of grass. If it is going to be a patio, you can choose to have a bamboo patio, a wooden patio, or a stone patio. The insides of the patio can be decorated in various ways to create the mood to help you pray.
If you do not want your guests and other people who visit you to enter your praying area, you can segregate it from the rest of the garden. You can build a tall bamboo fence to seclude your praying area from the rest of the garden. You can have a tall hedge as well. If you don’t want to have a bare fence, you can grow a shrub over it. Alternatively you can simply build a wall. A five-feet tall wall could give you the privacy you need without the arrangement seeming too drastic or rude. You could even place potted plants on the wall.
~ Classical Five Elements ~
Each one of us can identify with at least one of the classical five elements very closely – I identify with water; I am at complete peace in the vicinity of a water body, especially a moving one. The sound of flowing water sounds like music to me. My father on the other hand, loves the wind. He finds heaven on this hill that is close to our place. He climbs right up to the top of the hill every single day for just a few moments of the wind blowing in his face. You can also discover your element. If you already know your element, being close to it while praying can bring you real peace and calm and leave you with a deep-seated feeling of happiness and satisfaction.
If you like to pray at sunrise, you can arrange for your praying garden to be set up in such a way that the soft morning sunlight enter directly into your patio, or through the leaves of trees bordering your garden. If you like the wind, you can set up a rock-bench in the middle of the garden, away from the plants or trees that may block the wind. If water is your element, there are many ways in which you can include it in your garden. You can build a waterfall. You can have a fountain. If you want something more natural, you could have a small rock pool in your garden. The pool can be designed to hold small colorful fish. Alternatively, you can build a shallow rock pool and have round stones fill up the bottom – it looks truly beautiful. If you want to be still closer to water, you can have a small bridge built over the pool and can sit on the bridge and pray. Or if you opt for a shallow pool, you can simple walk through the water to a central table on which you can sit and pray, surrounded by water on all sides.
~ Flora ~
The last thing I would like to discuss are the plants in your garden. You have to be calm, relaxed and absolutely at ease when you pray. Having fragrant flower plants in your prayer garden can be a nice way to calm your senses and relax before you actually begin praying. You can place potted exotic plants in the patio, or you can surround your sitting area with fragrant flowers. Another option could be to burn some incense sticks.
Praying is not an activity – it is an experience, a journey. Praying lets you connect with life, connect with yourself. Hope these ideas will help you build the perfect little prayer garden you have always wanted.