By Hallie Cowan

Designing a Prayer Room

Creating a prayer room is a wonderful way to train your chapter members in prayer. Prayer rooms are often used at conference settings such as Fall Conference or Spring Break camps, during focused weeks of evangelism or new student outreach, or during holy weeks of the year before Easter or Christmas. What follows are detailed intructions of how to create a prayer room for a 24 hour session.

1.  Choose a Prayer Room

  • Choose a room that is centrally located, quiet, set apart, but accessible all night.  Secure permission to use the space, and let campus security know your plans.  (If you can’t find space on campus, check with local churches.) If the room is in a dangerous location, make plans for escorting prayer people to and from the room at night.
  • Assign one or two people to be in charge of the room throughout the prayer period, and invite them be creative in setting up the room as God leads them. They should check in and tidy up the room from time to time, and clean up when you are finished. Someone should be “on call” in case someone doesn’t show up for a shift, or there are other problems.

2. Sign up Pray-ers

  • Make a sign-up sheet online or on paper and have people sign up for 1-hour shifts.
  • Invite missional students, non-missional students, local church members, seekers, chaplains, members of other Christian groups.  Students have become Christians in prayer rooms!

3. Set up the Room

Set up the room for both intercession and contemplation (quiet reflection) during the 24 hours. Think of each purpose as you design and use the room.

A. Intercession

  • Set up an area or areas where prayer requests and answered prayers can be posted.  You could set up 2 areas: one for Spiritual Renewal of your Fellowship; one for the needs of the Campus.

  • You can gather prayer requests or thanksgivings using 3x5 cards and a basket or box, or post-its on the wall, or do “Graffiti Prayer” by hanging newsprint on the walls or on an easel, and invite people to add their reflections and prayers.

  • Helpful tools for Intercession:  Post-it notes or 3x5 cards; maps; posters listing themes


  • 5 sheets listing the conversion continuum of “Cynic” “Seeker” “Follower” “Leader” “World-Changer” on which people can stick post-its with first names only, and prayer requests
  • Share prayer requests, photos, answered prayers with other campuses at #neintervarsityprays
  • PLEASE RESPECT CONFIDENTIALITY when you post prayer requests and DO NOT GOSSIP.  ASK PERMISSION to use people’s names, or use generic terms -  Say, “My friend is sick” – not “John Smith has the flu” – unless John Smith okays it.

B. Contemplation

  • In this area, invite attendees to come away and be with Jesus. Challenge them to use the time to wait on God, to listen for His voice, to meditate on a Scripture verse, to do some artistic interaction in prayer, or to write in their journal.
  • You’ll need a set-apart, low-traffic corner.  A focal table with a cross, an electric candle, art supplies, Scriptures to reflect on, could be helpful.

C. Atmosphere 

Make the space comfortable and flexible for different prayer styles: have pillows & cushions for sitting on the floor and a chair or two. A few blankets or throws are a good idea, too.  Arrange spaces for individual prayer, and space for a small group to gather. Be sure the climate is comfortable: check temperature, air quality, noise level, lighting, etc.  

D. Décor and Accessories – can be very simple, or you can be creative:

Scriptures (or other inspirational quotes) can be printed in calligraphy (or a handsome computer font) and put in simple 8x10 paper frames with a small stand to display them. You might provide art supplies (crayons, paper, play doh, scissors, tape) with an invitation to express a prayer visually.  Whatever you choose, keep it simple, and uncluttered.  You want to create a background where people are drawn to the Lord, rather than experiencing sensory overload!

As you decorate and plan, think of the variety of backgrounds, personalities and cultures on your campus, and try to express that variety in your set-up. Pray and ask God to lead your planning.

E. Focal Table

Set up an "altar" or focal point in a central spot.  Use a small folding table or a crate draped with a cloth. Place an electric candle* on the table as a reminder that Christ is the Light of the World, and that He is with us here. You may also place flowers, or a cross or artwork on the table.

[*Before using a real candle, check if it is permitted. Place it in a holder, and in glass if possible – (for fire safety!) and have matches available.  Light the candle only when people are in the room, for safety!]

F. Prayer Journal

Place a composition notebook or a spiral notebook, or a simple yellow legal pad in a prominent place. Leave the book and a pen with a note such as:

“PRAYER JOURNAL for the Prayer Room

Please write briefly about your time in the prayer room.  What did you experience of God? Was there a word or thought or image that He showed you?  What struggles did you have? Anything else to share?”

4. Opening and Closing the Prayer Room

As you begin your 24 hours, pray and set apart the room for the purpose of prayer and intercession.   (If you are in a secular setting, pray for God to cleanse the space of any evil influence that has been invited there by others before you, and ask God to protect you from any ungodly forces as you meet there.) At the end of the time, the same group can "close" the room, giving thanks for what God has done there. Pray for the next chapter that will begin praying as you finish.

5. Packing List of Suggested Items for a Prayer Room



Electric candle & spare batteries (or candle, matches, ash tray)

Art supplies box (crayons, clay, pens, pencils, scissors, string, glue)

Post-its or 3x5 cards for prayer requests and thanksgivings

Small basket or box for prayer requests, or blue masking tape for posting

Posters or pictures for the walls

Sculpture or symbols of the theme

Blankets, pillows, chairs


Waste basket

Books: a couple Bibles, devotional books, hymnals, or collections of prayers

Signs directing visitors to the room, and inviting people to maintain quiet in the area

Directions for how to pray for one hour.

Print Version: Designing a Prayer Room-PDF