Updated: Oct 5, 2018
Over the years I have enjoyed keeping company with God in many places, seasons and ways, but there are still times when it is really hard. Those are the times when prayers written by others (like Psalms), and other Prayer Practices help me along. One of the Prayer Practices that I started exploring last year is Prayer Beads. Something about the physical attributes of the beads really draw me. I found a little book called ‘A Bead and a Prayer’ and bought a set of beads that I painted. I started to experiment how the beads could help me to talk to my Father, when I forget, get busy and distracted, or when 'prayers seem to run dry'.
There is no magic in the beads themselves, they are simply there to help us remember, and perhaps structure our prayers. Kristen E. Vincent, the author of A Bead and a Prayer wrote:
"Think about what draws you to God or what you need at a given point in time, and let that determine how you pray with the beads. It is ‘all good'.
One of the simplest uses of beads it to hold them. Just hold them. Lovely and simple. … Let the feel of the beads keep you focuses, grounded. … Use the beads to remind you that God is with you and hearing you no matter what you say or do. … Hold the beads and feel God’s comforting presence."
You can use prayer beads in dozens of different ways. You might want to buy a set for yourself or make your own beads. You can pray with the beads the Lord’s Prayer, Examen Prayer, make your own prayer rituals or follow prayer routines written to be prayed with beads. You can choose each color or shape to represent a certain kind of emotion/prayer.
Tip: If you use prayer beads with children and practice Daily Examen Prayer with them it is helpful to identify some basic emotions and maybe even draw them on the beads or on a piece of paper before the prayer time. Daily Examen with beads is a great bed time routine. My Peace Beads Kit includes a prayer guide "My Day in Beads" which is inspired by the Ignatian Examen Prayer.
A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner's Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads by Kristen E. Vincent
Pearls of Life: For the Personal Spiritual Journey by Martin Lönnebo