Thursday, April 15, 2010

Worshiping (Near) the Porcelain Throne

I have an image of people all over the world, on their knees, in the… bathroom.

Before I joined Al-Anon, I never had any idea how much worship takes place there, but it seems to be prevalent. A near epidemic.

The first person I ever heard talk about praying in the bathroom was my sponsor. She has two children and a husband in her home, and sometimes a sick mother. So there’s very little privacy. She said it’s the only place she can be alone and close the door.

Her prayer partner calls her every morning at 6 a.m. and she goes to the bathroom and drops to her knees.

Since she told me that, it seems like I’ve heard a million variations on that theme. Well, at least several.

Usually, I hear that in an open AA meeting. In a time of crisis, at work, in a bar, the speaker heads for the bathroom and falls to their knees.

I believe in praying on my knees. It’s a gesture of humility. In fact the whole idea of prayer is a gesture of humility. It is an admission that there is a God and that it is not me.

I confess that I, too, have begun praying in the bathroom. Not at home. There, I like to pray at the edge of a bed. But when I help out at our family owned business. I’ve become accustomed to a short, lunchtime prayer break and it avoids the possibility of interruption and awkward explanation.

It’s a manufacturing facility, so the bathroom is not nice. But it’s at least a one-hole affair, with little squares of carpet on the floor. And I know who uses it.

I’m still a little creeped out about the idea of resting my knees on the floor of a public bathroom in someplace like a bar. I think that’s a real act of faith.

Just saying.


  1. Oh, when I read the first sentence, I pictured people puking in the toilet. That kind of praying. My idea of praying is to utter thanks for the sunrise, or a bird or an hour of calm or hubby helping me do dishes without me asking. Prayer is my way of communication.

  2. It is interesting how be it a bathroom, or the side of a bed, or another room, we all can find our perfect "prayer space" :)
    God bless.

  3. I find myself daily praying in the bathroom at work. That is one of my hide outs that I seek the Lord.. Find my stall, I am in there praying in the Spirit silently. Love this post Kathy. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I used to go into the bathroom, close the lights and door while my children slept and begged God to help me be a good mother. I didn't know how...I spent alot of time on my knees in that small space. Stay strong. sarah

  5. I've never heard of making the bathroom a prayer place. I do most of my praying as I'm going about my daily business-a quick expression of thanks or request for help. I do my daily reading and meditation after work, sitting on the bed.

  6. I agree about the humility of hitting your knees. I have prayed many times in the bathroom. I have privacy. Alot of times when we are watching tv, I close my eyes and pray, and it works, but sometimes when I truly need to get on my knees, I want silence. i shall keep you in my prayers Kathy.

  7. I continue to work on my relationship with God and I haven't dropped to my knees to pray (usually I'm sitting in the living room or in the bedroom). But it touched my heart to think of the "humility" of praying on my knees, and I think I want to adopt that as I continue to pray and work and build my relationship with Him. Thank you for sharing. I also have to admit when I read the first line, I was thinking that you were talking about "praying to the porcelain god," which I've heard about almost since turning 21 and hearing about what happens when people drink too much! LOL

  8. Don't know what it is, but I pray in the bathroom each morning as I'm cleaning up. Nice time for me to be totally alone with no distractions. Have a good one!

  9. My mom use to always pray on her knees!! I don't know if I could pray in a bathroom others have used!! Very brave of you!!