2014: A Year of Peace and Beads

Happy new year! I pray you are experiencing God’s blessings this Christmas season and have had a wonderful first day of 2014.

The year 2013 was transformative for me in so many ways. It began exactly one year ago today. As many of you know, I had written the Prayer Workshop on prayer beads for the January/February 2013 edition of The Upper Room. It was the first time that anything about prayer beads had been included in The Upper Room, and we were all curious – and a little nervous – to see the response. I remember sitting in a hotel room in San Antonio, Texas with my husband and son on January 1, 2013. Together, we watched the stats page on this blog as the number of “hits” skyrocketed over a matter of hours. Little did we know how accurately that moment would capture the spirit of 2013 for us.

In 2013 we:

  • went from 15,000 hits to 150,000 hits to our blog;
  • witnessed an avalanche of orders for prayer beads from our Etsy shop;
  • tried desperately to keep up with the phone calls, letters, emails, blog comments, Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. from people who wanted to learn more about prayer beads for Protestants;
  • failed to keep up with all the phone calls, letters, emails, blog comments, Facebook posts, Tweets, etc. (please keep trying!)
  • hired three high-school students to help us in the Studio, in addition to putting various family members to work;
  • worked with Upper Room Books to publish our first book, A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads;
  • received the extremely gracious response to the release of our book;
  • fielded many requests for retreats and workshops;
  • celebrated the news that Upper Room Books wants us to write a second book on prayer beads;
  • made plans for me to be able to spend more time in the Studio for 2014; and
  • (best of all!) joyously received countless testimonies from you about how the prayer beads have helped you connect or reconnect with God, return to the church, find peace, experience healing, pray with your families, etc.

As if this was not wonderful enough, 2013 was also the year in which I experienced God’s true healing from a childhood trauma. It was an answer to a long-held prayer, and the result of God’s work through The Academy for Spiritual Formation, my spiritual director, my therapist, my family and friends, and yes, the prayer beads. As a result, I am finally able to live from a place of peace, rather than from a place of fear. It is all I ever wanted. And so much more!

Thus, it is with great joy, hope, and peace that I enter into 2014. I am looking forward to seeing how God continues to guide all of us in this journey of beads and prayer. I hold you up in my prayers. May you be blessed . . .


10 Responses to 2014: A Year of Peace and Beads

  1. The Prayer Beads that I made, were given to family and friends for Christmas.Everyone loved them. I prayed over them, as I made them, that through our Lord, they would be a blessing to each person. Hope that they will.
    Thanks for your guidance. Peace.

    • Barbara –

      What a wonderful gift you have given your loved ones, particularly knowing that you took the time to pray over the beads as you assembled them! Thanks so much for sharing!


  2. Kristen, thank you so much your wonderful ministry surrounding prayer beads! It was on Christmas Eve day that I found your article in the January/February 2013 issue of “The Upper Room” devotional. To say that coming across this old issue in the church office where I work and while trying to find something to do on a day that my boss (Pastor Ann Cover) just happened to be needing to use my computer, indicates how I might see this as a miracle. It was an answer to prayer as well as I have been struggling in the area of concentration in my prayer life and staying focused on one prayer at a time. ( As I get older, my thoughts, even my prayers, seem to be all over the place.)

    I was so excited when I read your article and asked Pastor Ann if she was familiar with protestant prayer beads. Not only was she familiar with them, she mentioned she had seen them at the Upper Room Gift Shop. When I came back to the office the day after Christmas, Ann handed me what immediately became my favorite Christmas gift of the year! It was a small chaplet packaged with your book, “A Bead and a Prayer.” I was, and remained, thrilled and so thankful!

    I’m sorry I missed your workshop(s) at Soulfeast. I would have loved attending. As a previous employee of TUR, I had the blessing of preparing the Quiet Spaces at SoulFeast from 2007 to 2009, with Jane Young. My job at TUR ended at the beginning of 2010, I have not been able to get back to Soulfeast. You can be sure that I will be first on the list to attend your workshop if I am able to go in the future!

    I’m wondering if you might have some suggestion as to how to use my small chaplet. I am working out my own way of praying with it, using the three larger beads to praise and thank God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and then with first seven beads I praise and thank God for individuals in my life and the last seven are my requests. I’m thinking, however, that you might have other suggestions on how to use my chaplet and, if so, I’d love to hear them. Or, if anyone else reading this has a small chaplet like mine, perhaps they might share how they use it. Thanks for any help you might give.

    Kristen, It seems that you and I have much in common in our love for, and belief in, the importance of sacred spaces and sacred things to put in those spaces. Also, in common is the blessing of having had a book published as a result of our respective ministries at SoulFeast! Due to the responses from our Quite Spaces of 2007, Jane and I were honored to write “Comtemplative by Design”…a how to book on creating quiet spaces for retreats, workshops, churches and personal spaces.

    I would love to think I might meet up with you sometime. The next time you are in Nashville, and if you have time, please let me know and perhaps we might meet up somewhere. That would be a blessing for me!

    Gerrie Grimsley

    • Gerrie –

      I was so thrilled to read your comments! What an amazing story of grace that your pastor gave you a set of prayer beads and my book after you were led to read an old edition of The Upper Room! I love that! And I’m so pleased to hear how much the prayer beads have helped you in your prayer life.

      It sounds like you are off to a wonderful start in learning to use your chaplet. You have a number of great ideas! One thing I emphasize when I talk with people about chaplets is that chaplets are simply “mini” sets of prayer beads. So, in essence, you can use a chaplet in the same way you would use a full set of prayer beads. A full set is made of four sets of beads; a chaplet has two sets. Thus, going around twice is the same as going around a full set one time.

      I say this because it may make it easier for you to use your chaplet with any of the devotions included in the book or here on this blog. However, I encourage you to continue to come up with your own ideas for how to use your prayer beads. Already, you have good ideas! Let the Spirit lead you!

      I do hope we get the chance to meet sometime, whether at SOULfeast or somewhere else! Clearly, we would have a lot to share! I will order your book, particularly since I have always enjoyed the Quiet Spaces.


      • Thank you for your kind response, Kristen. By the way, my Facebook profile picture has been a picture of your book and my chaplet hanging off to one side of it. I mentioned on Facebook about my favorite Christmas gift being Protestant prayer beads and had several nice comments. One friend already uses them and two more have stated they are going to order your book. I thought you might enjoy knowing this. (If you’d like to see your book as my current profile picture, check out Gerrie Lynn Grimsley on Facebook.)

  3. Oh this is such a blessing for both you and all of “us”. Thank you so much for making our New Year a motivational blessing!