The Occasional Shippment

Occasional thoughts from a young adult reveling in the messiness of life.

Focusing on Prayer

There are times where I am so deep into a prayer that I can’t help but smile and let out a giggle from the pure joy of the experience. And then there are those times where I close my eyes to pray, but I just. can’t. concentrate.

In those times, I find that I can’t even compose a single thought because of the scattered busyness bouncing around in my head. I can’t quiet my mind. I can’t settle my soul.

But that doesn’t stop me from trying. There is just something so wonderfully transcendent about lifting up my thoughts to God and sitting them before Him. And because I know what joy that can come when I do settle my mind and when I do defeat the noise, I will continue to keep trying.

From time-to-time, I attempt some new method to get me more focused. For a while, it looked like “Praying in Color” (drawing with colorful markers in a journal) would do the trick, but that’s not very portable, and there’s a reason I’m a writer and not an artist.

So for now, I went back to a tried and true method that I used many years ago: the Anglican Rosary.

I learned to make an Anglican rosary years ago, and I have made several since. I like making one versus buying one, as I feel like it takes on on additional significance since it becomes a reminder of where I was on my spiritual and life journeys at that point. As a tool for prayer, I’ve always quite enjoyed the experience. I can feel myself moving deeper and deeper into prayer as my fingers move from bead to the next.

But with my somewhat scattered life, my prayer beads keep disappearing (i.e. I keep losing them). And so it was earlier this year. Luckily for me, the hubbs and I visited the island of Murano (an island near Venice, Italy that is known for its glass), so I set out to find some local beads to use in making my next rosary. Now, months after our trip, I finally got around to making something with them.

There are plenty of great websites with instructions on how to make an Anglican Rosary (such as this one), so I won’t include full instructions here. But the basic structure of the rosary is this:

  • Cross or other pendant
  • Invitatory bead (1 large bead that “invites” you into the circle of prayer)
  • Cruciform beads (4 in total form a cross)
  • Weeks beads (28 in total – 7 in between each cruciform bead, which represent days of the week/church seasons)
  • Spacer beads (seed beads used to space out the cruciform beads)

Real glass beads from Murano aren’t cheap, so I ended up forgoing the seed beads and using knots instead to add some space between the beads. This has the added bonus of making the whole thing more secure (so if it breaks for some reason, the most I’ll lose is one bead, not all 33).Here’s a gallery of my rosary in progress, as well as the final result.

So far, I’ve had this one a week, and I’ve used it a couple of times. I’m hoping to up the frequency, but I’m honestly just glad that I can still find them. 🙂

So how about you? Do you have anything that aides in your prayer life?

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3 comments on “Focusing on Prayer

  1. Pingback: Learn Italian (Eight Down; Four to Go!) « The Occasional Shippment

  2. Lon
    October 21, 2012

    Your pursuit of prayer is inspiring. Prayer is worth pursuing because God is worth knowing beyond all we see or can imagine. When I am unfocused, I usually turn to the Psalms such as Psalm 5, or to the Lord’s Prayer to focus my mind. Sometimes I use the five themes in the Lord’s Prayer – God’s Honor, God’s Kingdom, God’s Provision, God’s Forgiveness, God’s Power – to guide my praying.

    BTW – you might enjoy this blog by an Anglican Bishop’s wife: http://writingstraight.com/

    I’ve also written a few posts on prayer if you’re interested:
    http://averageus.com/2012/08/13/the-trouble-with-prayer/
    http://averageus.com/2012/10/10/why-god-answers-prayer/

    • JZ
      October 21, 2012

      Thanks for your comment, Lon! I use the Lord’s Prayer quite a bit to focus as well. Thanks, also, for all of the great links – I’m checking them out now!

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This entry was posted on September 22, 2012 by in Faith and tagged , , , , , , .

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