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Beads are prayers

The English word “bead” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “biddan” meaning “to pray.” A woman was said to be “doing her beads” when she was using her rosary. Beads and prayers are the same thing. Sometimes I like to express certain religious ideas in bead form. This was the original intent of this blog, but I couldn’t figure out how to add pictures. Thanks to help from a coworker and some dogged persistence on my part (and no thanks to two different WordPress books), I’ve figured out how to marry up words and pictures. Here are two examples of how I speak in bead, when it comes to religious topics.

This necklace is referencing two verses from the Gospels. The fish refer to when Jesus said to his new-found disciples “I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). The grape leaf and the purple bead together (a symbolic grape) refer to when He said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) (translations from the New International Version)

I also like the medal. It is a Sacred Heart medal. Rather than being a crucifix that depicts Christ’s agony on the cross, the Sacred Heart shows us the depth of His love for us. It also reminds us that we are to create within our own hearts a sanctuary for Jesus.

vine branch

This bracelet depicts the world before and after Jesus. Start at the bottom at the 6 o’clock position and go counter-clockwise to follow the story. The small dark green bead represents the beginning of the Jewish people. The large green bead (both are antique watermelon beads) represents their many years waiting for a Messiah. Then the red bead is for the Holy Spirit, next to the blue bead for Mary. This combination symbolizes humanity saying Yes to God’s requests for us to bring forth His love into this world. The following bead has all three colors of green, red, and blue. It is the merging of history and destiny – Jesus as the culmination.


I believe it is good to have prayers made visible.

4 thoughts on “Beads are prayers

  1. So glad I found your post. I too have made prayers into beads and beads into prayers! I made an “Our Father” prayer beads. Each bead representing a verse in the prayer. I have worked on and off with the idea of a Proverbs 31 piece as well. I never knew the origin of the word bead, so thank you for the education. I have just opened an Etsy shop selling beads. I have quite a few more that I need to list. But it has been really fun trying to find unique beads to offer to Etsy artists. Thanks so much for your post, I look forward to reading your blog in the future! Have a beautiful Easter.


    • I’m glad you liked it! I look forward to seeing what you have made. I have an Etsy page (Beaded Retort) but it goes very slowly. I don’t have this stuff on it yet – it means too much to me right now. I just figured out how to add pictures to my blog – mostly it is rambles about what it means to be Christian. I hope you have a great Easter – the Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!


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