Building an Altar (Day 37)

July 11, 2021, By: Jimmy Scruggs

Starter Prayer: Lord Jesus, our Light of the World: Thank you for opening my eyes to new wonders and new ways of praying. Help me discover new rituals that make me happy in this season of my life. Amen

Focus Phrase: Rituals of Our Own

Scripture Reading: Psalm 104; John 1:1-14

Optional Read-along: Water, Wind, Earth and Fire pp. 137-139a (Conclusion, first quotes and essay).

Spiritual Direction:

Friends: first I must confess that I got ahead of our schedule in prescribing the altar practice yesterday. That was to be today’s activity! So… a few more words about “altars” and a second day to create your altar:

More on altars: Daily prayer is a kind of meditation—a repeating practice that connects you to your creator God. In order to be spiritually alive, we need to stay spiritually centered. This is easier to do if we allow ourselves centering rituals. It is important that we create these ourselves from the elements that feel holy and happy to us. 

Many of us grew up without religion or in religiously controlling homes. For us to be spiritually happy, we need to heal from this and establish rituals of our own. A spiritual space in the home is an excellent way to do this.

Your haven can be a corner, a nook, a tabletop, even a window ledge. This space in your home is a reminder of the fact that our creator lives in our hearts, our homes and all the events of our ordinary lives.

So! Pick your spot; and appoint it with physical reminders of your prayer times and reflections in the past few weeks.

For reflection: What physical reminders of God’s goodness have you found along the way in our time with Air, Fire, Water and Earth?

For prayer practice: On an “altar” place a cross in the center and then a symbol of each of the elements. For example, for air you might use a feather, for fire a candle, for water a bowl with water, and for earth a stone. Your altar could be your kitchen table or a spot on your deck. Any place will do. In the next five days we will return to this “altar” and move through one simple reflection and words of prayer each day.

Thanks for bearing with the scheduling glitch. Hopefully the extra day to create your space will work together for good.

Be encouraged in your practice,

Katie Martinez


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This daily devotion is part of the Summer Growth Journey: Learning to Pray with Nature with Crossroads Church. Many of us are also reading through Water, Wind, Earth & Fire: The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements by Christine Valters Paintner. To purchase a copy, or for more information, email us at [email protected].