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On prayer bracelets

Beads have been used for millennia as tools for prayer. In fact, our word “bead” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “biddan” meaning “to pray”. If a woman was using her rosary, she was said to be saying her beads, not her prayers. The two words were interchangeable. And, in a lighthearted vein, we can say that beads are truly “hole-y”.
I came up with the idea for prayer bracelets when I had a couple of friends who were struggling with different issues. One had a father who was terminally ill, and one was trying to defeat drug addiction. I wanted a way to let them know that I was praying for them that had some tangibility to it.
I believe that God made each of us with unique talents and gifts for a reason, so I decided to use my love of working with beads for this purpose. The response from my friends to these bracelets has inspired me to spread this way of praying.
Prayer bracelets can be for different intentions:
You can make one for someone else to let them know you are praying for them. All too often when we tell someone that we are praying for them, they forget a few hours later. With a beaded bracelet, they will have a constant reminder of your concern and love for them. It isn’t “preachy” or obvious – it is a subtle reminder. In this case, you will make a bracelet for your friend and think and pray about her or him while you make it. Wear it for about a week and pray for her or him every time you see the bracelet. Then give it to your friend, telling them about how you made it and wore it while praying for them the entire time.
You can make one to remind you to pray for others – with every bead representing a person on your prayer list. This came about because I had so many people on my prayer list that I needed some way of keeping up with it. I pulled out my bead boxes and selected a bead for each person on my list. This way, when I see it, I remember to pray for each person. I think it is also a good idea to have some “blank” beads, or ones that are not for any particular person. It is good to remember to pray for those who have nobody to pray for them. This reminds us that we are all part of one Body in Christ.
You can also make one for yourself to remind you of a goal that you would like to reach – stopping smoking, getting in better health, spending more time reading the Bible, etc. This is similar to offering a specific intention at Eucharist. Sometimes we need reminders to ourselves that we have made a commitment to improve ourselves.
No matter what you choose to do with your bracelet, it is my hope that you see this as yet another way to pray and connect with God. There are as many ways to pray as there are people on this Earth.

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