Making Home a Spiritual Retreat—in Any Circumstances
June 2024

Digital Only: Young Adults

Making Home a Spiritual Retreat—in Any Circumstances

For anyone wanting to create a sacred space.

a young woman sitting on her bed and reading the scriptures

President Russell M. Nelson recently asked young adults to “make your apartment, your dorm, your home, or your room a holy place where you can safely retreat from the dark distractions of the world.”

But it can be hard to make home feel like a holy place. Maybe it’s loud roommates, not having time for daily scripture study, or stress that distracts us from growing spiritually.

When I began my service mission, it was hard for me to feel like a missionary. It felt like I was just coming home from college for the summer.

I was glad I didn’t have to leave my friends and family, but at the same time, I craved to feel the spiritual retreat that I imagined teaching missionaries experience when they leave home. I decided I needed to turn my home into a spiritual safe haven.

And I’ve learned it is possible to invite the Spirit into the place you call home, regardless of your circumstances!

The following are ideas that helped me turn my home into a holy place that allowed me to feel connected to the Savior.

Seek Discernment

One way to start creating a sanctuary of faith is to pray for direction. President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, said, “Involve the Lord in your plans, in your goal setting, and seek His help as you go forward.” Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ aren’t passive participants. They are deeply invested in your life. They know the next step to reaching your potential, including how to create a sacred space in your home.

Sometimes it can be hard to recognize Heavenly Father’s answers to our prayers. President Nelson has told us to “plead with the Lord for the gift of discernment.” The Guide to the Scriptures defines discernment as the gift to “understand or know something through the power of the Spirit.” Usually we use it in the context of knowing right from wrong, but it can be used for more than that.

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the gift of discernment “helps us to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, the important from the unimportant, and the necessary from that which is merely nice.” This gift can help you spot areas in your life that can be simplified or added to. This guidance will help you find greater room for the Spirit.

At the start of my mission, I spent time in prayer seeking the gift of discernment. I had impressions about what was lessening my ability to feel like a missionary.

I prayed to know if my hobbies were appropriate mission activities. When my answer was yes, my activities felt consecrated to Him. The simple act of involving God made my home a sanctuary of faith for me.

Make Changes to Your Environment

President Nelson has also encouraged us to “pray to know … what to add to your environment and what to remove.”

In creating my sacred space, I put away my action-packed novels that distracted me. You may find that novels don’t detract from the Spirit you feel, but in my circumstances, I knew God wanted me to spend my time on uplifting and talent-building things. So I placed my scriptures on my desk to prioritize scripture study, and I set aside time every day for writing.

Heavenly Father’s goal is to prepare us to live with Him some day. He wants us to feel comfortable in His presence. I have felt more spiritual as He has helped me make one little change in my environment at a time.

Spend Time in Places Where the Spirit Is Present

Some of us may struggle to find refuge from worldly influences because the people around us don’t have the same standards. But we can seek the Spirit elsewhere. President Nelson said to “spend more time—much more time—in places where the Spirit is present.” Sometimes that means entering a new environment. Pray to know where you can go to retreat from the world.

If it’s impossible to retreat from those who detract from the Spirit, try asking them to be respectful of your standards while you are around them.

Even if we don’t have the most spiritually uplifting environment at home, we can “always have his Spirit to be with [us]” as we keep our covenants and sincerely partake of the sacrament (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77). It’s part of our baptismal covenant!

I know that God will help us find ways to connect with Him as we seek His help and do all we can.