Sunday, 1 June 2014

Review of prayer beads

Nearly a year ago, we posted an experiment involving making a set of prayer beads: You can find it here.
For some reason it took us until now to get around to trying this one out! Here, finally, is Noah's review of it.

It was interesting making the bracelet - quite fun and interactive. It was easy to make just following the instructions, and finding the different kinds of beads. Making it didn't really feel like a prayer, though, just a fun craft activity, but the whole experience of making and using it was good.

It was quite easy to remember which bead was which because they were all different - for example, I'd chosen the biggest, shiniest one to represent God.

When it came to praying with it, I went round holding each bead in turn, and then praying about the thing that bead was for. I usually found I spent about the same amount of time on each one, except I spent more time on one of the mystery beads, which I'd decided was representing places in particular conflict and need.

At the God bead, I found I mainly prayed for the big things, the big topics that I thought God should do something about - world peace, natural disasters, that sort of thing. At the silence beads,  I just sat in silence for a while, but I did find that my mind tended to wander to other things.

At the bead for me, I prayed for myself, asking for good test results at school, help through life and so on. Then at the baptism one, I didn't really know what to pray for, so I tended to leave that one out. I wondered if I should pray for other people to be baptised, but that's their choice so it didn't seem right to pray for that.

The desert bead was a chance to pray for the rough times in my life, times when I've been bullied or felt a failure. I don't normally think of praying for those things because they are in the past, prayer isn't going to reverse time and change the fact they've happened. It was good to have the bead to tell me to pray for those things.

For the blue carefree bead I just sat there in carefree mode and prayed for peace for me, and others, and the world. I wonder if  I should have done that for the silence beads?

At the two red ones, for God's love and Jesus's death, I was confused - because praying for Gods love was kind of what I'd been doing all the time. So I prayed that God would have more love and look after the world better! Then at the second one I prayed - well, you know how Jesus died to save us from our sins? Well, I prayed that that contract hadn't run out, so to speak, and that that still was the case for everyone nowadays.

I decided that for me, the first mystery bead was for my friends and family, the second one was for places experiencing bad things and conflicts, and the third one represented nature and the environment. They stayed the same each time.

I was really confused about the Night one - it seems odd to pray a 'Dark Prayer', it sounds like something from a fantasy or sorcery TV show! So I had to think for a while about what to do there the first time I used it. In the end, because it was black I prayed for people in dark times to 'see the light'.

For the Resurrection bead, I found myself not thinking so much about the resurrection itself but more about Jesus ascending into heaven after the resurrection appearances. I prayed that everyone could get into heaven and that God would forgive them - I was thinking a bit about myself, but mainly praying for atheists and other people who aren't Christians.

Overall, I liked using the beads. It was really interactive because I'd made it myself, I was wearing it, and I could use it whenever I wanted. It was really good that it was something you could wear in public without looking stupid. Because the God bead was the biggest, I had to wear it with that on top of my wrist (or it was uncomfortable when I put my hand down), and I found that every time I glanced down and saw it, it reminded me of God.

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We welcome your comments, especially if you have tried the week's exercise yourself! Give it marks out of ten, or just let us know what you think. Please be aware we may quote you if we ever do write this up as book!