Do you remember the movie The Paper? Every journalist loved it. It captured the insanity of newsrooms. What I loved the most was the editor, played by Robert Duval, clearly ready to slip a gear. He paces around his office ranting about all the columnists and their non-stop opinions … He yells, “Everybody just needs to shut… the… F*#&… up!” I’ve been there. I could relate.
But I have to believe, so to can God. Imagine the incessant whining in his ears. Imagine the non-stop pestering. No wonder the Pslamists of antiquity wrote of God saying, “Be still, and know that I am God.” That’s his nice way of saying the same thing as Robert Duval.
It’s not something we do well. It’s something I had to work very hard to learn, and I still suck. But I believe God wants to just be with me sometimes and not have to be verbally assaulted by my narcissism. That’s why I made myself a set of beads. I call them Grace Beads.
Most ancient religions have a prayer bead tradition. I suspect its for a simple reason. They work. By occupying our fingers we can calm our mind and interact with God on a deep, meditative level. Interestingly, one tradition that has almost a disdain for beads is Western Evangelicalism, much to their detriment. Too Catholic, I suppose, despite the fact that without the Catholics safe-guarding the faith for oh, about 1,500 years, there would be no Western Evangelicalism.
If ever a faith need to quiet down a bit, its the evangelicals. They seem so busy doing for God, and talking about God, they rarely have time for … God… Herself, who simply wants to sit and be with Her children. Thus, I made these prayer beads for Christians of all flavors. Borrowing from ancient Christian meditations and the rich tradition of mystics along with a healthy dose of scriptural focus, these beads guide us through the simple process of settling before God, taking stock of ourselves, and then focusing our energies outward in love and gratitude to others.
In Alcoholics Anonymous the 11th step is to take a Daily Moral Inventory. These beads are like that – a pause to take a moment and diagnosis how you are doing before your entire internal engine overheats. Each set of Grace Beads is individually made. There are a couple of different setup. One, the necklaces pictured here, are based on an uneven circle, with the rougher stones signifying the look inward to our sins and the smoother stones coming back up through grace.
The smaller bracelets, like pictured at the top of this post, are built on a symmetrical pyramid of 11 beads of confession and 11 beads of graceful interaction with the Holy Spirit.
A prayer guide is available in PDF format. Feel free to visit our website under the Workshops page for a way to get your copy. You can make your own string of beads, or drop us a line and we’ll see about getting you one of ours. Whatever works to occupy those hands, calm your mind and give you some time with the greatest artist of all, the one who created you and called you fearfully and wonderfully made.
Grace and peace to you.