Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Design Garden Prayer Rooms With Inviting Paths

A prayer garden should create an atmosphere where peaceful serenity can be found while at the same time stimulating communication with our Heavenly Father. One way we attempt to accomplish that in the Gethsemane Prayer Garden is by creating prayer rooms with inviting garden paths.

Click on any photo to see them all in full-screen.

As with a room in a home, we place a curvaceous path in the middle of the prayer room that invites the eye and softens the heart. The benches, flowers, and shrubs become like the home's furniture and decoration. The end of the path should bend quickly, providing a sense of mystery and intrigue.

Each path's vista then defines a prayer room with a sense of privacy and seclusion from the next room. The design should include landscaped hallways that lead to the next room.

Tall shrubs can create boundaries between the rooms and act like doors that gently open into the next.

The prayer rooms may be large or small. Each room should have one or possibly several benches for lingering, and all benches should be positioned for privacy.

Large rocks can serve as impromptu sitting locations.

A shrub placed adjacent to the path can add curiosity by breaking up the larger prayer rooms.

The Joyous Celebration Prayer Room has a stone pad for a table and chairs. Smaller groups can use these larger prayer rooms.

This bird bath is inscribed with a poem, yet man-made statuary is minimized in this garden.

Mixtures of colors and textures should encourage one to linger in a prayer room. The dark-blue columbine flowers add continuity between rooms.

Small hills (berms) with tight plantings may be necessary. We use shrubs and trees to prevent people in the parking lot from seeing into any room. This view into a room is available from the back side of the garden.

The plantings, whether in a prayer room or along a path hallway, can also take on symbolic meanings which also invite people to the garden. The Wooden Cross Prayer Room, for example, portrays the story from Exodus 33,34 where Moses watched the Lord pass by him. We encourage those that have a smart phone to go to to read or hopefully someday soon listen to these Scriptural interpretations.

There are eight prayer rooms in the Gethsemane Prayer Garden.

Proverbs 3:13-17 (NASB):
13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.
14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace.