Saturday, April 9, 2011

Prayer: Praying by hand

Many religious traditions encourage the use of prayerbeads.  The Roman Catholic rosary is perhaps the most familiar form here in America, but the Eastern Church uses a knotted rope; Hindus sometimes use a string made from seeds; Muslim prayerbeads may have the name of Allah written on them; Buddhist beads may be made from the wood of the sacred BO tree, under which Buddha sat to be enlightened.  This is only a small hint of the kinds of prayerbeads out there.  Google prayerbeads and prepare to be astonished.

There are Anglican prayerbeads as well. For many years, our prayerbead ministry has been offering workshops on praying with and making prayerbeads, because people find it so powerful literally to hold their prayers in their hands.  Using prayerbeads as we pray can help ground and focus us, so our mind is less likely to wander.  They can help our restless body to still itself.  And as we hold them, they remind us that praying is something we do with our body and mind, as well as with our spirit.

Many prayers lend themselves to use with prayerbeads: The Lord's Prayer, the traditional Hail Mary, the ancient Jesus Prayer.   Some people like to take a verse from Scripture to use.  Experiment!  Just pray.

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