There is much talk about creating a prayer room or war room, since the debut of the Christian movie, “War Room”, created by Stephen and Alex Kendrick. You can find posts on Pinterest on how to create a prayer room. I am going to tell you about the prayer room of Miss Bertha Smith, a Southern Baptist missionary who served 30 years in China during the Shantung Revival. If you want to learn how to pray, don’t worry as much about the location of your prayer closet. The most important part of prayer is the condition or your heart. If you do not understand how to meet the Lord in prayer, your prayer room experience will be dead. You will quickly give up, because you will not experience fellowship with the Lord.
Miss Bertha, as she was affectionately called, had two prayer rooms. One was located in her home in Cowpens, SC. You can see Miss Bertha standing in front of her home in the picture below. This home was built by her father and is still just as beautiful today as it was then. Her prayer room was located in the tower or unfinished attic.
A friend and I have had the privilege of touring Miss Bertha’s home. I wish I would have taken more pictures of her prayer room (see below), but this is the only one I have. Notice the carpeted table located in the room. It was not actually a table, but an ugly, unfinished spool used for holding electrical cable. You know the type you see on the side of the road when the power company is installing power lines. So as you can see, your prayer room does not have to look impressive. God is more concerned about the condition of your heart, rather than the decor of your prayer room. You can meet the Lord in prayer whether you are in prison, your bedroom, outside or in a closet.
Miss Bertha’s other prayer room was located right across the street from her home at the Peniel Prayer Center. Miss Bertha opened the Peniel Prayer Center in 1979 during the Jesus Movement. It was “a place where people ‘with hungry hearts could come, see the face of the Lord, and get on higher prayer ground'” (Miss Bertha Woman of Revival p.240).
Both prayer rooms were located in the attic, because Miss Bertha liked to pray “in the upper room”. The prayer room at Peniel was lined with simple kneeling benches. These were available for her guests to use when they attending her prayer retreats. Peniel Prayer Center still stands, but is now the home of Faith Home, Inc. If you click on the Faith Home, Inc. link, you can view more pictures of the Peniel Prayer Center. They have left much of the building as it was when Miss Bertha owned it.
I want to encourage you to set a time and location to pray to the Lord everyday. You can choose any location as long as it is quiet, without distractions. Try different locations such as a park, garden or bedroom. Miss Bertha also had a prayer garden at her home and one at Peniel. Remember that the location is the least important part of your prayer time. God cares more about the condition of your heart rather that a posture or a location. The only recommendation about the location is that you must be alone. Even though it is powerful to pray with others, you will have more power in prayer when you spend one on one time with the Lord.
When Miss Bertha gave her prayer retreats, she would spend the first 2-3 days of the retreat on sin.
According to Gerald Melton, “She would get people so burdened and so agonizing over their sin they couldn’t stand it. Everyone had to make out a sin list. She usually would let them start praying until the 3rd day to make sure they were convicted enough”.
Please click here to print a copy of the Sin List from A-Z. Miss Bertha would tell people to ask the Lord to examine your heart. Confess every known sin to Him. If the sin is against the Lord, then confess it to the Lord. If the sin is against an individual, you need to go to them and make it right. Then pray that the Lord will fill you with the Holy Spirit. After you have completed this task and only then will you be on praying ground. If you want to have a productive prayer life, then follow Miss Bertha’s advice.
Please take the time to search my blog to learn how to meet the Lord in prayer.
Drummond, Lewis. (1996) Miss Bertha Woman of Revival, a Biography. Broadman and Holman Publishers.