Praying for 28 Friends
As a Lenten discipline a few years ago, I started praying with Anglican prayer beads. Unlike the Roman Catholic version of rosary beads where there are set prayers for each bead, the Anglicans are a bit more free-form.
Based upon a recommendation from a friend, I’d adopted the Jesus Prayer for each of the 28 blue beads. It is very popular in the Eastern churches and very simple, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
This year, I participated in a Lenten retreat at The Society of Saint John the Evangelist Monastery in Cambridge, MA. In beautiful surroundings of the St. Charles River, it was a peaceful time with meditation and solitude and I took out my prayer beads on my first night there.
On the cross, I gave thanks for Jesus for his sacrifice for me, and on the next large white bead I had an honest conversation with God about my life and faith and prayed for wisdom and discernment.
But rather than praying the Jesus prayer on each of the 28 blue beads, I was compelled to name friends and acquaintances who I wanted to lift up to God. Rather than imploring God to forgive me (which He already has), I chose to pray for others. I had no shortage of names: people in my life with cancer, difficult family relationships, and grief over a recent death came to mind immediately.
On more beads, I named aloud those people who are looking for employment, raising children and in the midst of moving with job transfers. As more beads passed through my fingers, I recalled others who need prayers including those who have stopped going to church, or haven’t found a church home.
At the end of my prayer beads I had asked God for wisdom and discernment, shared my needs, but then also prayed for healing for 28 of my friends.
I plan to continue my new discipline in praying for others, with my Anglican prayer beads as a gentle reminder that we are all part of the same community and we need each other’s prayers.
Will you join me by praying for 28 of your friends during Holy Week?
pictured is one set of my Anglican prayer beads from Unspoken Elements, http://www.unspokenelements.com/product-category/prayer-beads/