A New (Old) Tool for Prayer
Guest post by Todd Vick
Have you started to fix something and the project just didn’t go as planned? Maybe that bolt wouldn’t turn, or the nail was having a hard time going in. During this situation, whatever it was for you, did the thought ever occur that you might just have the wrong tool? I remember when I first learning how cars worked and taking auto shop in high school this became a very valuable lesson for me. Oil pan plugs can be very hard to turn loose. During the first oil change I ever did, I grabbed a standard wrench of the right size but the plug just wouldn’t turn loose. Later I was shown by my shop teacher that a longer wrench of the same size would give me more torque to turn the plug loose. The right tool for the job can make all the difference.
The same can be said for prayer: the right tool can make all the difference. There are many tools that are used in prayer such as scripture, journals, prayer lists and notebooks, clinging cross, etc. One prayer tool that I have found very useful is prayer beads, specifically Protestant prayer beads or Anglican Rosaries. As someone who deals with ADD, I have a tendency to loose focus in prayer, but when I started using prayer beads in my prayer time I found I was able to maintain focus and I saw my prayer life reach a whole new level. As I have grown older, I am understanding more and more every day that I’m also a tactile learner, meaning that I need to get my hands on something to truly understand it. Since prayer beads give me a physical item to touch and manipulate as well as assigned prayers for each bead, they have greatly improved my prayer time as an ADD tactile learner.
When I started using prayer beads in my prayer time I found I was able to maintain focus and I saw my prayer life reach a whole new level.Over the past five years of using prayer beads I have found my prayer life to be greatly enriched as I can focus on my prayers and on listening to God through the use of beads. This tool serves as a visual cue to remind me to spend time in prayer, then while using it I am able to remove distractions, focus on God and move my prayers beyond simple petitions to fostering my relationship with my creator. While prayer isn’t a job but rather part of a relationship, it does help to have the right tool to help foster that relationship, and I believe prayer beads can be an excellent tool for everyone to develop and strengthen their prayer life.
Learn more about the use and history of prayer beads in Todd’s upcoming class, Tactile Prayer: The History, Theology, and Practice of Prayer Beads, starting September 21.
About the Author
The Reverend Todd Vick, M.Div. is currently serving as the Senior Pastor of Salem United Methodist Church in Conway, AR. He has over 14 years of experience in youth, emerging adults, young adults, pastoral, and lay involvement ministries. Todd holds a Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Science degree in Youth Ministries from John Brown University. He and his wife Carrie reside in Conway with their two boys Elijah and Riley. Todd’s passion is for the grace of God to invade and radically change the lives of God’s children through one-on-one discipleship and intentional group teaching in the context of a loving missional community. Todd’s blog can be found at https://wtoddvick.wordpress.com/blog/.