Praying Scripture with Prayer Beads

Prayer

This is part three in a three part series on prayer beads.  You can find the first two weeks here:  Making Mini Prayer BeadsBreathing with Prayer Beads

Praying Scripture with Prayer Beads

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Once my prayer practice had begun to normalize again, I discovered a daily devotion book based on the Moravian Daily texts.  You can get one here:  http://www.mountcarmelministries.com/daily-texts-devotionals/

Each day, I chose one of the verses to pray with my beads.

Because some of us need more visual cues to help us remember what verse we are working on, when I presented this workshop at a yoga retreat, I found some small adult coloring book-style verse cards that participants could choose from.  You can purchase them on Etsy here:  https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/514813523/coloring-scripture-cards-set-of-8?utm_source=OpenGraph&utm_medium=PageTools&utm_campaign=Share

You might work on a particular verse for a day, or a week or a season, or pray several verses in one day (you can find an accessible way to do that in this book:  Praying with Beads  If you don’t want to go searching for your own verse, I also curate a weekly focus verse at my Taking Worship Home website:  http://tri-saintsworship.weebly.com

What follows is how I use the mini set of beads to pray scripture.  It is similar to the breath prayer, and may actually be sandwiched in between two cycles of breathing with the beads.  You will notice that it begins and ends the same way.

STEP THREE:  Praying with Scripture

  1. First, I take the time to arrive. Most of the time, I find that my body arrives in a place before my mind or my heart.  If you would like to use essential oils on your lava or wool bead, now would be the perfect time to apply them (it only takes one drop, and some oils absorb better than others).
  2. I sit in a comfortable position that enables me to take a deep breath. I hold the beads in both hands and take the time to notice them.  What do they look like?  Feel like?  Smell like?  Sound like?  Once you have arrived and feel fully present, move to the next stage.
  3. I begin this stage by holding the section of beads that includes the cross and lava bead in my hand. This is a time to remember who I am addressing, or connecting to, in my prayer.  I take the time to hold the cross and think about God as Son.  What is it like to know that God is your brother?  That he lived on this earth, and felt pain, cold, hungry, thirsty, tired?  That he fully knows my human experience because he experienced it for himself?
  4. Next, I hold the small wooden bead above the cross and think about the Holy Spirit. How is the Holy Spirit showing up in the things of every day?  What is it like to know that God is as near to me as my next breath?
  5. Third, I hold the lava bead and think about God as Father. What is it like to know that God is my loving parent, who made all things, and still sustains my life?
  6. Next, I hold the three remaining smaller beads together, and ask God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be fully present, and to help me to be fully present, as I take the time to breathe.
  7. The next part is the praying scripture part. With the verse in front of me, I hold one of the large beads in my fingers and say the verse slowly out loud.  I proceed to the next bead and do the same, not worrying about how many times I have said it, or how many times that I have left, but trusting that I will come full circle when the time is right.
  8. When I arrive back at the smaller beads, I take some time to rest and breathe. God rested on the seventh day of creation, and calls us to rest and renew and rejuvenate, as well.  I usually continue to breathe at this place until I feel done, though you might choose to do the circuit of large beads two times, four times, seven times, etc., especially if you want to sandwich the scripture practice in between breathing practices.
  9. I conclude by holding the section that I started with, praying the Lord’s Prayer, and concluding with “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.” You are welcome to pray in any way that is appropriate to your tradition.

I pray that this practice of praying with scripture is renewing for you.  Peace be with you!

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Breathing with Prayer Beads

Prayer

This is part two in a three part series on prayer beads.  You can find the first week here:  Making Mini Prayer Beads

Breathing with Prayer Beads

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When I first started doing yoga under a teacher, she told us that the most important part of a yoga practice was learning to breathe.  I thought that this sounded crazy.  I had gotten into yoga to feel better, to get stronger, to become more flexible, and to lose weight.  None of that had to do with breathing!  However, several years down the road, I have found that she was right.  Breathing, connecting to the Holy Spirit, is the most important part of yoga, and really has the most lasting effect on my body, mind, and spirit.  This prayer bead practice will help you to connect to the breath at times and in places where it is just not feasible to roll out a yoga mat.

STEP TWO:  Learning to Breathe

After my car accident, the first thing that I had to do was to learn how to breathe again.  Pain had left me taking shallow, quick breaths, and I didn’t have the concentration to retrain my breathing on my own.  Putting beads in my hand and putting this seemingly simple exercise into the mode of prayer or connecting to the Holy Spirit helped to ground me.  It only takes about a minute and a half, and I have still found it to be a great way to prepare to pray, even after most of the effects of my accident have passed.

 

  1. First, I take the time to arrive. Most of the time, I find that my body arrives in a place before my mind or my heart.  If you would like to use essential oils on your lava or wool bead, now would be the perfect time to apply them (it only takes one drop, and some oils absorb better than others).
  2. I sit in a comfortable position that enables me to take a deep breath. I hold the beads in both hands and take the time to notice them.  What do they look like?  Feel like?  Smell like?  Sound like?  Once you have arrived and feel fully present, move to the next stage.
  3. I begin this stage by holding the section of beads that includes the cross and lava bead in my hand. This is a time to remember who I am addressing, or connecting to, in my prayer.  I take the time to hold the cross and think about God as Son.  What is it like to know that God is your brother?  That he lived on this earth, and felt pain, cold, hungry, thirsty, tired?  That he fully knows my human experience because he experienced it for himself?
  4. Next, I hold the small wooden bead above the cross and think about the Holy Spirit. How is the Holy Spirit showing up in the things of every day?  What is it like to know that God is as near to me as my next breath?
  5. Third, I hold the lava bead and think about God as Father. What is it like to know that God is my loving parent, who made all things, and still sustains my life?
  6. Next, I hold the three remaining smaller beads together, and ask God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to be fully present, and to help me to be fully present, as I take the time to breathe.
  7. The next part is the intentional breathing part. I take one full, deep yoga breath for each of the next seven large beads.  You can hold each bead still, or move it along the cord, or twist it in time to your breath, whatever helps you to stay fully present.  This is the main part of the prayer, and takes as long as you need it to.
  8. When I arrive back at the smaller beads, I take some time to rest and breathe. God rested on the seventh day of creation, and calls us to rest and renew and rejuvenate, as well.  I usually continue to breathe at this place until I feel done, though you might choose to do the circuit of large beads two times, four times, seven times, etc.
  9. I conclude by holding the section that I started with, praying the Lord’s Prayer, and concluding with “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.” You are welcome to pray in any way that is appropriate to your tradition.

 

I hope that this practice of breathing with prayer beads helps you connect to the Holy Spirit in a deeper way.  Peace be with you!

Making Mini Prayer Beads

Prayer

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For the past few years, I have enjoyed an almost daily yoga practice.  It helps me to feel stronger, more flexible, and like I am taking the time to do something important for myself each day.  More importantly, however, my yoga practice has become my prayer time.  Connecting to my breath, stilling my mind, and letting God speak to me has become more important to me than any of the other benefits that got me into yoga in the first place.  Last summer, I was even able to continue my practice on the road, and so I was entering the fall feeling grounded and connected and ready to put a whole lot of energy into whatever God had in store for me next.

Then, August 15th happened, and I narrowly avoided a high-speed head-on collision.  Both myself and the driver of the other car were able to walk away from the accident, but the deployment of air bags messed up my left shoulder, both in the front and in the back.  Suddenly, I wasn’t able to stretch my arm over my head, let alone bear the physical demands of a yoga practice.  Because of the constant pain, I felt like I couldn’t even take a deep breath.  And because of the seeming randomness of the accident, I was too angry to really want to speak to God at all.  And things sort of fell apart for a while.

As my physical therapy began, and the pain began to lessen, and I had some time to process the accident, I realized that, although I could not yet practice yoga, I was really anxious to begin connecting to God, praying, again.  After trying some of my old standbys (coloring prayer, Praying in Color, breath prayer), I returned to a prayer practice that I hadn’t done in some time:  prayer beads.  When I had learned prayer beads in the past, it included upwards of forty beads to individually pray, and, at this point in my recovery, that was too intimidating.  For those of you who are Roman Catholic, they are like a set of rosary beads, but patterned on an Episcopal method of praying the daily offices with verses of scripture.  What follows is the practice that I developed for a mini set of prayer beads, which was far more manageable for me at the time (and a bit more portable, as well!)

STEP ONE:  Making the Beads

I believe that if you are going to use something to pray, the making of it should be a holy experience as well.  Take the time to notice what you are doing.  Be fully present.  What do the beads look like, smell like, feel like?  What do they sound like as you string them together?  Are they hard or soft?  Warm or cold?  Rough or smooth?  Stop and say a little prayer as you complete each section.  Pray when you snip off the loose ends.

Materials needed:

    1. 21” length very thin hemp cord (you can use what pleases you, but this cord makes knots that stay and has a pleasing sound when the beads slide over it.  I got mine at Walmart.)  prayer beads cording
    2. 1 small 7/8” wooden cross bead  (available for purchase here:  https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B073XHFMSS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )
    3. 1 – 14 mm natural stone lava bead (this is for essential oils.  You can also use a natural wool ball.  Available for purchase here:  https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01COPTBYO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )
    4. 2 small 10 mm round unfinished wooden beads (available for purchase here:  https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MXRWYT9/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )
    5. 2 medium 14 mm round unfinished wooden beads  (available for purchase here:  https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MXRWYT9/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )
    6. 7 large oblong wooden beads (mine came from a church member who bought them for me for 25 cents a bag at a thrift store.

Instructions:

  1. String about 3 inches of the cord through the top of the cross bead.  Tie three knots (one for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).  prayer beads step 1.jpg
  2. String both ends through one of the small wooden beads. Tie three more knots (one for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).  prayer beads step 2.jpg
  3. String the long end of the cord through the lava or wool bead. String that same end through the next small wooden bead, one medium bead, all seven large beads, and the last medium bead.  prayer beads step 3.jpg
  4. Go back through the small wooden bead that is between the first medium bead and the lava bead. Tie three more knots (one for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit).  prayer beads step 4.jpg
  5. Clip the loose ends of the cording.  prayer beads step 5.jpg

Now that your prayer beads have been fashioned, you have lots of choices as to how to use them in prayer.   prayer beads complete.jpg

Two blogs posts will follow with the practices that have been the most helpful for me.

 

#jesusbirthatoz Week 9

#jesusbirthatoz, Coloring Prayer, Epiphany, Prayer

If you are reading this, you probably already know a little something about the birth of Jesus.  You know about shepherds, and angels, and a manger, and some Wise Men.  It might be such a familiar story to you that you barely even hear it when you gather with friends and family to light candles and sing Silent Night.  But do you know the whole story?  The story surrounding Jesus’ birth, and all of the people who waited for his coming and celebrated his birth?  From now until January 21, our parish is going to read through the whole story, from beginning to end, verse by verse, day by day.  Each day, there will be a few verses from the Bible, a focus image, a couple of questions, and a prayer.  You can receive these devotions in church, one week at a time.  I will also be posting them daily on Instagram and Facebook, if you prefer the digital version.  Here, on Good God Ideas, I will make them available one week at a time in pdf form.  God bless your journey from the throne to the manger to the throne!

The Story of the Birth of Jesus Devotion Book Week 9

Need devotions for the previous weeks?  You can find them here:  https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/category/jesusbirthatoz/

Week Nine:  The Escape to Egypt

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#jesusbirthatoz Week 8

#jesusbirthatoz, Coloring Prayer, Epiphany, Prayer

If you are reading this, you probably already know a little something about the birth of Jesus.  You know about shepherds, and angels, and a manger, and some Wise Men.  It might be such a familiar story to you that you barely even hear it when you gather with friends and family to light candles and sing Silent Night.  But do you know the whole story?  The story surrounding Jesus’ birth, and all of the people who waited for his coming and celebrated his birth?  From now until January 21, our parish is going to read through the whole story, from beginning to end, verse by verse, day by day.  Each day, there will be a few verses from the Bible, a focus image, a couple of questions, and a prayer.  You can receive these devotions in church, one week at a time.  I will also be posting them daily on Instagram and Facebook, if you prefer the digital version.  Here, on Good God Ideas, I will make them available one week at a time in pdf form.  God bless your journey from the throne to the manger to the throne!

The Story of the Birth of Jesus Devotion Book Week 8

Need devotions for the previous weeks?  You can find them here:  https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/category/jesusbirthatoz/

Week Eight:  The Visit of the Wise Men

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#jesusbirthatoz Week 7

#jesusbirthatoz, Christmas, Coloring Prayer, Prayer

If you are reading this, you probably already know a little something about the birth of Jesus.  You know about shepherds, and angels, and a manger, and some Wise Men.  It might be such a familiar story to you that you barely even hear it when you gather with friends and family to light candles and sing Silent Night.  But do you know the whole story?  The story surrounding Jesus’ birth, and all of the people who waited for his coming and celebrated his birth?  From now until January 21, our parish is going to read through the whole story, from beginning to end, verse by verse, day by day.  Each day, there will be a few verses from the Bible, a focus image, a couple of questions, and a prayer.  You can receive these devotions in church, one week at a time.  I will also be posting them daily on Instagram and Facebook, if you prefer the digital version.  Here, on Good God Ideas, I will make them available one week at a time in pdf form.  God bless your journey from the throne to the manger to the throne!

The Story of the Birth of Jesus Devotion Book Week 7

Need devotions for the previous weeks?  You can find them here:  https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/category/jesusbirthatoz/

Week Seven:  Simeon & Anna Meet Jesus

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#jesusbirthatoz Christmas Week

#jesusbirthatoz, Christmas, Coloring Prayer, Prayer

We have arrived at the story of the birth of Christ!  This week, you will live into this very familiar story with daily Bible verses, questions, and suggested prayers.

The Story of the Birth of Jesus Devotion Book Christmas Week

Need devotions for the previous weeks?  You can find them here:  https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/2017/11/21/jesusbirthatoz-week-1/
https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/jesusbirthatoz-week-2/
https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/2017/12/03/jesusbirthatoz-week-3/
https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/2017/12/10/jesusbirthatoz-week-4/
https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/2017/12/17/jesusbirthatoz-week-5/

Christmas Week:  The Birth of Jesus

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