We know God hears us wherever we pray, but some United Methodists find special places where they most like to spend time with Jesus.
We asked followers of The United Methodist Church Facebook page to share their favorite places to pray. The beautiful, personal responses affirm that wherever we are, God hears us when we pray.
Many return to a room in their house for prayer. Brenda Grundrum, for example, prays in her den. "That is my turf," she shares, "Me and my Lord's space."
Some like Fran Wheeler are a bit more specific. "A particular chair in a particular room," is her special spot for prayer. "It seems to have been sanctified over years of use."
Others have special pieces of outdoor furniture where they enjoy time with God. "I pray and chat with Jesus on my swing in our backyard," Simone Sutter shares. "All I see is nature. All I hear is birdies and frogs… I feel so very close to Him there."
Melody Daily also pauses for prayer in her backyard, but she doesn't sit still. Melody prays while working in her garden. "There's not much that's as holy as that to me," she writes. "God is right there in the earth and the sounds of the birds and crickets and the breeze rustling up some little patch of dust."
Similarly, Lee Cole prays, "While riding the farm tractor while mowing or plowing."
Robin Hamm prays while walking her dog, and Lisa Hughes and her husband "pray together as we walk in our neighborhood park every morning before work."
"Deep in the woods while hiking," is a special place for William White, and Rhiannon-John Thomas prays while running. "Clearing the mind and focusing on the Word while I run," Thomas explains, "helps immensely in my faith walk."
Whether active or still, nature is an important element of many special prayer spots.
Charlotte Johnson Bennardo has a meditation garden that sounds like a wonderful place for prayer. "No one bothers me there," she writes, "and I have as long a chat with God as I need. The beauty of the flowers, trees, birds and such, calms me."
Lilia Mopas beautifully describes "quiet places where I can feel the presence of the Lord every time I want to talk to Him. In those places where you can see the beauty and amazing creation of God."
Pat McClain Thomas looks for "private, quiet, tranquil surroundings," and Verlyn de la Cruz says it "doesn't matter where I am as long as I'm alone and without any noise."
Bodies of water are also popular nature spots for prayer. Lakes, beaches, and oceans were mentioned by several. Jan Coulbourne likes to pray while walking on the beach, adding, "I'm sure Jesus tucked a few pieces of sea glass in his robe pockets too."
Some like Paul Sebastian Gómez have specific spots to which they return. Gómez found his special place when he was 15 years old and his father became pastor of Red Mountain United Methodist Church in Mesa, Arizona. "I remember taking a short drive on the Bush Highway just a few miles north of the church, and seeing these cliffs. It was the most comforting thing to see in a completely new world. Throughout the years, this little spot has become a safe place where I know God has called me to be."
Praying behind the wheel is another popular spot among respondents. The quiet alone-time makes the car a substitute "prayer room," as Dena Kea Jackson describes it.
Lenna Mullins pauses for prayer at the end of her driveway in the morning. "It faces east. The sun is rising. Birds are singing. The air is fresh. We get to start the day with a clean slate."
Sandra Elaine Pyles Parker prays during her commute. "I like to pray in my car while headed to my teaching job in the mornings. I feel God's presence as I call out to Him. It makes my day!"
Deb Overdahl likes "to pull over by a peaceful lake or pretty scenery," to pause and "thank God for such a beautiful site."
In churches and chapels
Others drive to a church or a camp for special times of prayer.
Skippi Posey travels to Dooly Campground in Vienna, Georgia, where, "I went to Emmaus and worked many walks… When I drive on the grounds I can feel the presence of our God."
Other United Methodist camps like Lakeview in Palestine, Texas, and Sky Lake in Windsor, New York, were mentioned as favorite prayer spots by those who had been campers as children.
Churches are also favorite places to pray. Small chapels and empty sanctuaries are favorites, but others like Alex Byrd find smaller, nearly secret spots. "There's a hidden hallway behind our stage for access to the baptistery. The way it's laid out and the feeling I get from praying there is like the holy of holies."
After a full day, many take time to close their day with prayer in their favorite spot… bed.
"Every night, I get on my knees, by my bed, and humble myself before my Lord," Sharon Gilbert says. "I can't crawl into bed, no matter how tired I am, without my time with Him!"
Cynthia Fuller, who gave us her age to assure us she wasn't "a little kid," was more descriptive. "I meet with my father in my bed. I sit in the middle with the covers over my head and we have a wonderful time. I pray. I talk. The wonder and the richness of Him being there with me is amazing." She then rhetorically asks, "When you think of spending most of your life there... Where oh where would you want His Presence more?"
Special places are wonderful additions to our prayer lives, reminding us that God is ready to hear us wherever we pause to pray.
"The Lord is close to everyone who calls out to him,
to all who call out to him sincerely." (Psalm 145:18 CEB)
This story was published on July 11, 2017.
*Joe Iovino works for UMC.org at United Methodist Communications. Contact him by email or at 615-312-3733.