Safety and Security
So maybe this shouldn't be the last item. It's pretty important.
Electric candles / real candles
So real candles are pretty cool. They make a prayer room look great when dimly lit and also smell nice. But they are hazardous. Do not use them. Why?
- If you have candles, you need someone to always be in the room.
- You also need a fire extinguisher.
- Also, they burn out and cost money!
- Spilled wax is super annoying to clean up.
- What if someone brings a child to the prayer room!
In conclusion, just don't do it. We slowly built up a collection of electric candles which work pretty well. They are battery operated and more expensive, but they're easier to setup / tear down and long term, you spend less money if you do lots of prayer rooms. But most importantly, you won't accidentally burn down the building. :)
Using Real Water
So we did this prayer room one year where we used waterproof tarps and such to build a real mini waterfall with rocks and light from behind. It was super cool. We will never do it again. Why?
- After a few days, it sprung a leak and water got everywhere. We had to keep checking on it all the time to make sure it was ok.
- the water splashing actually got things wet when the fountain ran for a very long time.
- It's messy to setup / tear down.
- Someone could have got electrocuted.
- Kids could get in there and create leaks etc.
- Someone could get electrocuted!!! water + power == bad!!!
As a general rule, we don't use real water for any prayer stations. The exception might be those self contained desktop mini water fountains and maybe the painting station. But even then, we're reluctant because painting stations are messy.
Public Spaces / Privacy / Safety
So this topic is tricky. There's a fine balance. You want to provide a space where people can be alone with God, but you also don't want kids sneaking in there to play on their phone or do who knows what else. Generally we create private spaces by making a hidden entryway rather than a closed door. Kinda like those public washroom that don't have a door.
Another thing to consider is how public is your space and what time the prayer room will be open. Many people who do prayer rooms keep them open very late or even 24/7. If you do this you need to be very careful. Sometimes the nicest neighbourhood have sketchy people wandering around at night. You basically need someone in the room to monitor. Theft, vandalism or general shenanigans can happen easily if it's a public place. Normally, you'd assign people in shifts to watch (and pray). At night I normally lock the door even if the prayer room is open. People coming would knock to get in or follow direction on a sign to call my phone etc. Another thing you might consider is that the person monitoring the late night shifts be male instead of female or be partnered up. The night shift sounds like a lot of work, but it's really a great time to be alone with God and have the prayer room all to yourself if no one else is there.