A Prayer Bead workshop led by Linda and Audrey provided over 20 women with an opportunity to think about prayer and to craft a set of prayer beads. Though some of us consider “prayer” to be a “wounded word” from the past and some of us have no reason to use it in the present, we were presented with alternatives–new ways of thinking about prayer. They are planning another workshop in the fall for children and adults, including families.
I pray on a regular basis now, but for many years it had became a pointless practice.
Maybe prayer felt like a childhood exercise: “Now I lay me down to sleep . . .”; “God is great, God is good . . .”; “The Lord is my shepherd . . .”; “Our Father . . .” At various times these were not just familiar but a source of comfort. (Ironically, they still bring comfort under certain circumstances.) When I left the Episcopal Church as a young adult I walked away from regular prayer, too. Everywhere I looked, prayers were offered for trivial reasons: for OUR team, OUR nation, OUR safety, etc.
These prayer beads serve a tactile purpose of metaphorically touching the spirit of life, the spirit within, and the spirit of connection with others. The entering bead is for Centering, or creating a space within for prayer or meditation. To that Centering bead I added disks for Time and Space. I’m centered in a particular time and space but I am also connected to eternal time and space. Widening my heart makes the Center fuller and richer.
The Rev. Barbara Hamilton-Holway writes of prayer in volume 2 of Evensong>. She describes prayer as:
- attending to what life gives us
- listening in the quiet
- responding honestly and openly
- hearing the call to a wider perspective, a deeper resolve
- tending the relationship with our truest, greatest self
- cultivated when practiced every day, regularly, intentionally
- a reminder to live with compassion and care for ourselves, others, and creation
- a rush of thanks for all the gifts of life
Clearly there’s a call to prayer, as simple as “Thanks for Creation” or in whatever form helps you listen to your heart. There’s also a strong call to action when there’s so much that needs human hands to make the world a better place. Let’s pray for that, too!