Have you ever seen a prayer rope? Do you know what they are for or where they came from? My son was having anxiety when we were out of town and a prayer rope from my mother-in-law calmed him down. It gave him a way to focus on praying to God during a moment of panic. Below is a prayer rope I made for my daughter earlier this year.
Somewhere around the 4th century Christians were looking for ways to practice unceasing prayer to God. A method was devised by tying knots in a rope to keep focused on praying. Eventually it was made into a circle for unceasing prayer.
The knots are intricate. Each knot is symmetrically surrounded by “crosses”, to keep us centered on Christ. There is also a psychological benefit of keeping us focused when anxiety is present. The prayer rope focuses our attention on God and makes it harder to be pulled away from praying.
Another benefit for people like me is that it keeps my hands busy. The preferred method is to discretely hold the rope in one hand and then one bead in between your thumb and forefinger. A prayer is said for each knot, usually the Jesus Prayer known as “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son Of God, Have Mercy On Me,” and then you move on to the next knot and say it again. I do not have room to expand on the theology in that statement, but the idea is to remember to pray to God throughout the day. Obviously there is a risk of vain repetitions, but that is even true of the Lord’s Prayer. The goal is to genuinely pray.
You may have noticed a tassel on one end of the rope. If you cry while praying, the tassel is used for tears, because “he will wipe every tear from their eyes” Revelation 21:4.
Question: Have you tried a prayer rope? If not, do you have an aid which helps you remember to pray?