What Is a Prayer Closet and Do I Need One?

Alisha Headley

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 10, 2021
What Is a Prayer Closet and Do I Need One?

Prayer goes hand in hand with being a Christian. In church and amongst other believers, we tend to pray before meals, events, or when someone is going through a big change or hardship of any kind.

Prayer is central throughout the Bible:

  • In Ephesians 6:18, we are taught to “pray in the Spirit at all times on every occasion.”
  • I Thessalonians 5:17 says to “pray without ceasing.”
  • In Colossians 4:2, Paul teaches us to “devote ourselves to prayer.”
  • James 5:16 says “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”

What exactly is a prayer closet? Do you need on for your life with Jesus? Before we can create this space for ourselves and understand its importance, we must first understand the purpose and power of prayer.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Tinnakorn Jorruang

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hands together in prayer with bible, prayer closet

The Purpose of Prayer and a Prayer Closet

There are many reasons as to why prayer is essential in our daily lives. But at its core, prayer is how we develop a relationship with God. It’s aligning our hearts with His and His purposes. Just like a relationship with your spouse—how are you supposed to build a life with your husband, set goals, partner with him to make plans for the future, or discuss your concerns and admiration for each other if you two don’t speak to one other?

In the same way, how do you get close to your Maker, your Father, the God of the Universe and walk alongside Him in your calling for your life if you don’t speak to Him?

The Lord might not speak back to you audibly, but He will speak to you in your spirit the more time you spend talking with Him in your prayer life. He’ll speak to you through other people, books, worship music, podcasts, sermons, and most definitely through the Bible, which “God breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16). Inhale it, soak yourself in it, and He will speak to you.

Prayer is when we talk to God; reading His word is when he talks to us.

He simply wants to hear from you, and prayer is the avenue. It will help develop a deep relationship with Him enabling you to know Him more, hear from Him more, and walk alongside Him in His purposes.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/LincolnRogers

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man with head bowed in prayer, Pexels Caleb Oquendo

Some Things Won’t Happen Unless We Pray

God is omniscient. He is all-knowing, and therefore knows the outcome of everything. However, He could quite easily use someone else or allow His plan to be accomplished in another way unless we step in and pray for something different.

Have you ever wondered why He says in His word to, “ask anything in my name” (John 14:14)?

Of course, some of what we ask for, God has a better way as He knows what’s best because “His ways are higher than our ways” (Isaiah 55:8). He won’t always give us what we ask for. But the Bible has countless stories where God was going to accomplish His plans one way, but someone stepped in to intercede and pray on behalf of the situation to change things, and guess what? God heard them, and He changed things.

Moses is an example. In Exodus 32:11-14, Scripture says Moses “pleaded with the Lord,” asking Him to not bring His wrath on His people as God had said he was planning to do, due to their corruption. The Lord heard Moses so He “relented from the harm which He said He would do to His people.”

God hears us. We have prayer so easily available to us. I’m not sure what you’re going through right now, but we can intercede on behalf of our current situation. On behalf of our families, our husband, our children. Remember, some things won’t happen unless we intercede. So, let’s start praying for our people, just as Moses led the way.

Photo Credit: © Pexels/Caleb Oquendo

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woman praying looking peaceful

What Is a Prayer Closet?

A prayer closet is a place where you can go alone, in privacy, to spend quality, focused time on prayer. It’s important for us to adopt this discipline in today’s super-electronically connected world. We need a quiet and still space to be able to quiet our hearts to hear God’s voice. It is a place to silence the noise of the world so God’s voice becomes louder than the voices around us.

We can follow Jesus’s example as he often “withdrew to lonely [solitary] places to pray” (Luke 5:16). He taught His disciples about the importance of praying in private versus praying in public for the world to see. In Matthew 6:5-6 he said, “when you pray, go into your closet [room], close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Some people may take Jesus’s words here to mean we are to have a literal “closet” that we pray in. We mustn’t limit our prayers to praying in a closet. Back in the days of Jesus’ life, there were no closets. When Jesus says to “go into your closet [room],” He is talking about the importance of ‘making time and space to be alone with God’, or to ‘shut in oneself in with God.’

The word “room” here is the Greek word ‘tameion’ meaning an inner storage chamber, or secret roomJesus taught that this is less about where you pray and more about drawing our hearts to God in the quiet, secret place.

Photo Credit: © Sparrowstock

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girl praying in ernest

Why Should Christians Have a Prayer Closet?

Has your prayer life ever felt like a wrestling match? Interruptions from kids, drifting off in sleep, distracted with your long list of to-dos’. A thousand invisible enemies seem to fill the air the minute we sit down and pray.

Or perhaps our ordinary lives full of busyness, create us to live a prayer life of ‘quick prayers.’ Maybe we don’t ever sit down to focus on prayer. Instead, we pray while we are in the shower, making our coffee, putting our make-up on, sitting in traffic. Sure, this is praying, and God calls for us to pray at all times. But we also need to have times when we’re still for the sake of focused, powerful prayer.

Here are some reasons why a Christian should consider a prayer closet. It creates:

1. Intentionality: In other areas of our lives, we go to specific places for specific reasons. When we go to our office, we go there to work. When we go the gym, we go to exercise. When we go to the grocery store, we go for food. In the same way, when Christians go to their secret place, their prayer closet, they go to spend alone time with God (and for no other reason). Rather than always praying on the go with ‘quick prayers,’ going to a designated place for a specific purpose cultivates intentionality and God “delights in our prayers” (Proverbs 15:8).

2. Focus: When Christians go to an empty and quiet designated place, it eliminates distractions. Tearing ourselves away from the endless housework, TV, Facebook, e-mail, and errands is the hard part. This is often what keeps us from hearing from God—being distracted. I believe this is the enemy’s biggest ‘win’ in the society we live in today. We live in a world where we are overloaded with information. The phones in our pockets even notify us of all the latest information automatically and immediately. Eliminating distractions enable you to focus on nothing but you and the Lord.

3. Intimacy: The privacy of being alone creates intimacy. There is no intimacy when you simultaneously are doing other things. How are you to be intimate with someone when you are juggling ten other things at the same time? The sharing of a special, desert place is an intimate act in itself. If there is a place where you meet with one person, and with nobody else, that place becomes a hallowed sanctuary for the relationship. A prayer closet is that intimate setting for you and God.

4. Strength: Jesus would temporarily escape the crowds and multitudes of needs and go off into the secret where He renewed His strength. Psalm 91:1 promises us that “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Oh, to rest in the shadow of the almighty! God wants the secret place of prayer in our prayer closets to be the place where we can find comfort, peace, and get recharged with strength for what’s next. The disciples recognized this strength in Jesus when He would return from the secret place. They saw Jesus retreat, then come back strengthened and refreshed in a powerful way. They knew something happened to Him when he stole away in the secret, so they asked Him to teach them to pray (Luke 11). We too, can be strengthened in the secret place.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Anastasiia Stiahailo

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woman reading Bible wondering question

How to Create a Prayer Closet

A prayer closet can take many forms. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  1. Pick a location. I turned my walk-in closet into my prayer closet, but it doesn’t have to be an actual closet. It could be a corner in your house or your bedroom. If little spaces don’t exist, pick a prayer chair or a space on the floor somewhere quiet. It could be in your parked car or in your backyard under a tree. Be creative.
  2. Decorate your space. I write out Scripture verses on colorful index cards and hang them in my prayer closet. I also have pictures of my husband, my family, and specific people I pray for daily. I may find a quote, write myself letters, or something may stand out in a Bible study I’m participating in, and I’ll print it out and hang it on my closet walls. You can use a tack board or create a little prayer photo album. Sometimes I turn off all lights, and have a small lamp for lighting or a candle burning. Perhaps you want to throw in some comfy pillows and a cozy blanket. Make your space unique to you.
  3. Add your Bible, devotionals and prayer journal. These items are important to add so you can meditate on the Lord and seek Him in His word. Devotionals will help direct you into certain parts of the Bible. You will want to journal (to remember) the things that God will start revealing to you in the quiet. Leave your phone or electronics outside the prayer closet.

Simplicity is key. But make it yours. Make it a special secret place for you and the Lord. Make it intimate. The real beauty of having a prayer closet is forcing out all distractions that keep us from having the kind of prayer life that God desires to have with you.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Jupiterimages

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man praying kneeling at foot of a cross, prayer closet

The Most Important Work Happens on Our Knees

Prayer is part of the Christian walk. The heroes that went before us paved the way through their examples of intercession. Jesus Himself exemplified the importance of praying in desolate secret places. As women, we have an important role to play as prayer warriors for our homes. The most important work we do will be done on our knees.

Prayer is the avenue God has given us to deepen our relationship with the Lord and intercede on behalf of our people. Creating a prayer closet gives us the place and intentional space to focus solely on prayer. God surely delights in us as His daughters when we spend intimate distraction free time in prayer with Him. I encourage you to carve out room on your calendar this week to create your very own prayer closet. Our Father is just waiting to meet with you.

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/GordonImages

Alisha Headley is a writer + speaker who has a desire to meet the everyday woman in her everyday life with biblical truth. Stepping into her true calling, she left the corporate world behind as a former-financial VP to love on her family as a stay-at-home wifey + dog mama, while also being able to pursue her passion as a writer. Healing from a chapter of life consumed with lies she once believed about herself, she is inspired to point women to Christ to experience the freedom + power to overcome those lies with the truth written in God’s word. In her free time, Alisha enjoys road trips around the country, working out so she can eat her favorite foods, and creatively styling her outfits with a craft for fashion. Alisha is a proud wifey and dog mama living in Scottsdale, Arizona.

You can follow her blog by visiting her website or connect with her on facebook + instagram.

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Originally published Thursday, 09 July 2020.