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A Life of Connection

Today’s Reflection

PRAYER BEADS are a tool for prayer. Just as a hammer and nails help us construct a house, so prayer beads help us construct a life of connection with God. The beads are not the end; they are the means to an end, which is communion with God.

I want to emphasize that prayer beads are just one of many tools to assist in prayer. Not everyone needs a prayer tool. Many people feel comfortable with prayer and have developed ways of praying that work well for them. If you are among them, I invite you to continue reading to learn more about the history and use of this ancient Christian prayer practice.

However, many people struggle with prayer. Their minds wander; they get bored; they wonder if they are being heard; they struggle with what to say. Prayer beads can help them develop rich lives of prayer, deepening their connection with God.

—Kristen E. Vincent
A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads

From page 16 of A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads by Kristen E. Vincent. Copyright © 2013 by Kristen E. Vincent. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

What tools do you use to help you pray? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.

—Ephesians 3:8, NRSV

This Week: Pray for joyous new beginnings. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

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Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by The Upper Room. Copyright © 2019 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

{ 15 comments… add one }

  • Candice Howell January 5, 2019, 1:20 am

    Happy New Year! I’m interested in Bible study in Green Valley. I am baptized Methodist at age 13 at Highlands Methodist Church, Topeka Kansas but have moved a lot and not had a church family in many years. I’d like to get reconnected with a church near me. Do you offer new member classes? Thank you. Candice

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 5, 2019, 5:41 am

      Happy New year, Candice!

      Welcome!

      Glad that you are interested in Bible Study.

      Sorry, I live in Singapore but I hope you will meet someone who knows and can recommend you a church which you can join for Bible study and worship God.

      Blessings!

  • Carole January 5, 2019, 6:50 am

    I use Sharon Seyfarth Garner’s books Mandalas, Candles and Prayer and Praying with Mandalas as prayer tools. They provide uncomplicated mandalas for coloring as a way into contemplative praying.

  • Warren January 5, 2019, 8:13 am

    I write my prayers down on paper and then after turning them over to God I discard the the paper .

    • Mary Ng Shwu Ling January 5, 2019, 6:13 pm

      I do the same thing as you Warren except I have a prayer list which I update daily the prayer requests.

      Blessings!

  • Julie January 5, 2019, 8:22 am

    Both of the suggestions above are interesting to me. I like to color and will look into the author mentioned. I also like the idea of writing prayers. I feel comforted by writing things down and then the final step of discarding them would be a physical reminder that I have given the prayer to God and now it is His and not mine. I also like the thought of prayers beads though from previous reflections from this book the method is very prescribed and I do better with more free form prayer.
    Prayers dear Mary and prayers for your family.
    Welcome new posters!
    Prayers and blessing dear UR family

  • Connie January 5, 2019, 8:59 am

    I have always gone to the Upper Room Daily Devotional…for many years, before computers, the paper copy. I used to have portions of scripture cut out and put on my desk at work. One of the scriptures was “He who is faithful in that which is small is faithful also in much.” It always reminded me of my husband.
    Thankful for:
    A successful honey chicken meal prepared in my new “toy”.
    A bright sunrise that I always go to the window to greet.
    A full cupboard after a depleted one due to the holiday hours.
    Thank you, Lord, for your bountiful goodness. Amen

    • Connie January 5, 2019, 9:04 am

      “He who is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much”.

  • robert moeller January 5, 2019, 9:14 am

    I just talk to God. I’m not against prayer beads, I just don’t think they are helpful for me.

    Thankful for resources to take care of bills, had a good day yesterday checking out the ski area in the town where we want to live.

    Tomorrow is Epiphany Sunday, there will be communion and the 12 days of Christmas will end.

  • Rusty January 5, 2019, 9:19 am

    Candice, thank you for your post. This group is not really a “church”, per se, with classes for new members. We are definitely a family, though, spread out all across the world. As Mary noted, she lived in Singapore. We’ve had members in Canada and other countries. Many of us live in different parts of the United States. We have family members in New England, Ohio, Florida, California and many other parts of the country. Not all of us are Methodists, but many are. I happen to be an Episcopalian living in New Mexico In the southwest United States. We meet daily, or at least as often as we can, to exchange ideas, pray, and support one another. There’s always a reading and a question provided by this website, Upper Room Daily Reflections, but that is often only a starting place for our conversations. Please accept our best wishes and our prayers for you to find a local church community in your town, but we welcome you to join us and participate here, online, as well! God bless you.

    On the topic of prayer aids, I have two, primarily. First, I continue to pray the Daily Office which is Episcopalian liturgical prayer that appears in the Book of Common Prayer. It relies on many forms of read, spoken and mental prayer as well as daily scripture readings including psalms, and OT, NT and Gospel readings. This brings me into close and intimate contact with God on a regular, daily basis. I am very grateful for this discipline shared with me by my spiritual director years ago. Second, I would say regular Christian spiritual reading by authors such as NT Wright, CS Lewis, John Stott, Joan Chittester, Cardinal John Newman and Thomas Merton (and really lots of others) provides for the a wonderful platform for spiritual growth and daily conversations with God about both Christianity and events in my life and in the lives of those who are near to me – and also our nation and the world.

    Blessings to all this Saturday!

    • Rusty January 5, 2019, 9:21 am

      Oops. Mary lives in Singapore. Sorry for my typo, Mary.

  • robert moeller January 5, 2019, 9:24 am

    Candice, I’m not aware of new member classes here at the UR, some churches do that and some don’t. I am very glad to have gone to a church that did one on one new member classes. It was one of the most helpful and uplifting experiences on my faith journey. Hope you find a church that offers that.

    It has been some time since I did that, but the material used was a 10 booklet series from Campus Crusade for Christ if I remember correctly.

    Google the United Methodist Church and you should find churches in your area. Prayers that it goes well and God guides you.

    Happy New Year and a blessed Epiphany Sunday!

  • robert moeller January 5, 2019, 9:30 am

    Thank you, Connie, Mary, Warren, Rusty, and Carole for your posts, ideas, sharing, and suggestions.
    God surely helps all of us be there for each other at this site. Thank You, Lord.

  • Andrea January 5, 2019, 11:51 am

    My praying has been marked by a very wandering mind lately. I have used prayer beads in the past to hold onto and pray while lying awake in highly stressful times. Now I have a scripture, my Lectio Divina, that I inwardly recite when I am stressed or highly distractible. But I believe God hears all of our prayers, no matter their forrm, shape, coherence, or sophistication.

    Lowell has a stressful medical procedure on Tuesday, a repeat of a procedure he had six months ago, which caused him to get a bit shock-y. I ask for your prayers for him. He will see the doctor in another couple weeks to see if he can start PT for his ankle. Thank you for your prayers.

    I am very grateful for renewed friendships from my childhood, a real gift from God. Thank You, God, for this deep blessing.

    Prayers for dear UR friends and all visitors. I pray Candice will find a church with a good Bible study group near her home. Blessings, all.

    • Connie January 6, 2019, 9:31 am

      Prayers for Lowell.

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