PRIE-DIEU, literally " pray God," strictly a prayer desk, primarily intended for private use, but often found in churches of the European continent. It is a small ornamental wooden desk furnished with a sloping shelf for books, and a cushioned kneeling piece. It appears not to have received its present name until the early part of the 17th century. At that period in France a small room or oratory was sometimes known by the same name. A similar form of chair, in domestic furniture, is called prie-dieu by analogy.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)