Book Review: A Bead and an (Interfaith) Prayer

One of the great things about these two weeks with the Patheos Book Club is that various Patheos bloggers have read my book, A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads and shared their responses to it. I thought it would be fun to share some of these reviews with you – a variety of perspectives on the book and the beads from a variety of writers.

A Bead and an (Interfaith) Prayer, by Reba Riley of “Post Traumatic Church Syndrome with Reba Riley

“This sweet little book arrived in my mail the week I was working on final memoir edits. Its arrival wasn’t only significant because all authors could use prayer beads during final edits–though I could argue this point!—but because throughout my journey through thirty religions before I turned thirty, I saw prayer beads everywhere.

I don’t know how I survived nearly three decades of life thinking that only Catholics used prayer beads, but I was both surprised and pleased to discover the japa mala (108 beads–Hinduism, Buddhism), misbaḥah (99 or 33 beads–Islam), and sikh mala (108 beads–Sikhism). The Catholics had the rosary, of course, and the Eastern Orthodox Church used a knotted prayer rope. Some of my Baha’i friends used a strand of 95 prayer beads, and I even met a Wiccan Priestess who carried a homemade set in her purse!

I always found myself a little jealous as I watched the devout grasp each smooth bead in contemplation. The practice looked so peaceful, as if one could actively move faith with their fingers. Each bead seemed a place to rest a worry. It reminded me of a miniature version of walking a labyrinth, where you can leave what troubles you at the center when you walk out. Read the rest of her post.

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