The PrsA protein is a membrane‐anchored peptidyl‐prolyl cis‐trans isomerase in Bacillus subtilis and most other Gram‐positive bacteria. It catalyses the post‐translocational folding of exported proteins and is essential for normal growth of B. subtilis. We studied the mechanism behind this indispensability. We could construct a viable prsA null mutant in the presence of a high concentration of magnesium. Various changes in cell morphology in the absence of PrsA suggested that PrsA is involved in the biosynthesis of the cylindrical lateral wall. Consistently, four penicillin‐binding proteins (PBP2a, PBP2b, PBP3 and PBP4) were unstable in the absence of PrsA, while muropeptide analysis revealed a 2% decrease in the peptidoglycan cross‐linkage index. Misfolded PBP2a was detected in PrsA‐depleted cells, indicating that PrsA is required for the folding of this PBP either directly or indirectly. Furthermore, strongly increased uniform staining of cell wall with a fluorescent vancomycin was observed in the absence of PrsA. We also demonstrated that PrsA is a dimeric or oligomeric protein which is localized at distinct spots organized in a helical pattern along the cell membrane. These results suggest that PrsA is essential for normal growth most probably as PBP folding is dependent on this PPIase.