Sharing sacred space

A few years ago, I started one of my sermons with the words “prayer is simply coming before God as you are.” Then I kicked off my shoes … and savoured the feeling of new-found freedom:
~ in my preaching,
~ in my prayer life,
~ in my innermost being.

These days, most of my prayer time is spent in the sacred space of my study which is full of family photos, little love tokens that my children have crafted and collected for Mothers’ Days and birthdays, journals and art supplies, flowers from the garden and lights from precious people, and Bible stories which change with the seasons and ground me in my continuing journey into the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory.

This sacred space is truly a physical expression of my interior life – of all that I love and dream of and value – into which I can retreat for a little silence and solitude ….

Lately, however, there has been a constant stream of “intruders:”
~ from “Little cat” who plants his not-so-little bottom on my wheel of the year and stares out into the garden before coming to rub his nose against mine,
~ to big galumphing Mumford who “sneaks in” with his eyes averted and lies down peacefully at my feet, snoring contentedly,
~ to our rather hyperactive Rory who lies against me on the soft carpet, tongue out, feet up in the air, forepaws touching together as if imitating a posture of prayer,
~ to Big and Little who first peek in to see what I’m up to and, on being invited in, put their heads on my prayer cushion and talk with me in hushed voices about the deeper things that don’t often get discussed amidst the noise and nonsense of the dinner table and – if I’m very lucky – give me a decent cuddle before getting back to the “business” of the day ….

Yet, rather than interrupting my prayer life, this sacred time has become even more precious to me with the realisation that it’s not just mine. The light and the calm and the love in this little space has made others feel welcome. And when they enter in, they are different. And when they’re with me, they’re part of the prayer. And when we leave, we carry the love and the peace and the joy of the Lord with and within us.

O God-who-bids-us-welcome,
You meet us at the door,
show us to the circle,
sit beside us on the floor.

The candles dim around us
in the glory of your smile
as You weave for us a story

and we wonder for a while

at how tenderly You love us
and hold our hope, our pain, our care,
as we gather in Your presence
in the sacred space of prayer.  

About Yvonne Ghavalas

A minister in the Uniting Church in Australia, sharer of stories, sandwich enthusiast, seeker, and sometimes fool (archaic), sporadic blogger at

2 Responses

  1. Marion Fowler

    Thank you for your beautiful & moving stories Yvonne…

    Wish I had a space like yours. It sounds so perfect.

    I’m reading some of your mini sermons looking for something specific to present at Novalis tomorrow.

    George Bracey recently lost his wife to cancer. She had the most amazing memorial service on Saturday. Although it must be 20 years or more since we last saw Gifty, we see George often & he is our friend and he’s asked me to present this Tuesday.

    Kim has a miracle story to tell which has opened her to God’s greater plan for her life.

    In a nutshell – one day in August last year she was sitting at a coffee shop at a hospital in the UK waiting to see one of her surgeons. (Kim’s a medical rep) Was on her computer, hadn’t said a word… Two women at a table next to her got up to leave and one came over to Kim saying “you’re South African” & that she had a message for her from God that the little girl He has for her wants to come sooner than they had planned. That & a lot more… Kim & Jon were still using contraception. Precious baby girl is expected on the 6th of June…!! Big brother Ayden will have just turned two.

    Kim & Jon are quite involved in their village church – a beautiful old building. Both in the music team & Sunday school yesterday. And Kim’s being challenged by the Alpha course.

    Makes a mother’s heart so happy to hear her stories.

    She’s been asked to give her testimony but says she’s not quite ready for that.

    Just thought you’d like to know Yvonne.

    Love Marion xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s