Intention: January Theme and Prayer Bead Devotion

Those of you who follow our (somewhat) daily meditations may have noticed our monthly themes. A few months ago we decided to assign a theme to each month, using it as a basis for our prayer bead devotions, meditations, newsletter, Facebook Live videos, etc. It worked well enough that we’ve decided to make it official!

January’s theme is Intention. This seemed like a good word for the new year, and connects nicely with our talk about choosing a Star Word for 2017. Your response to my blog post last week has been overwhelming, and it’s been great fun to hear the words you have received to guide you through the year. Keep them coming! We will take everyone who posts their word (either here or on our Facebook page) by January 27th and enter them into a drawing for a free set of prayer beads.
Intention is a great word in general, but I love it particularly as it relates to our spiritual formation. We can start with God and see that God’s act of Creation was intentional. There was nothing haphazard about it; nothing was created without purpose (except maybe cockroaches – I just really don’t see what point they serve; nothing was or is beyond God’s focus and attention. That, of course, includes us. We were and are God’s intentional creation, shaped into being for a specific purpose: to love God, and to glorify God by loving ourselves and others.
What does this mean for our spiritual formation? How can we return this gift of intention to God? We might choose to be intentional about our prayer life, particularly if our prayer practice has been hither and yon up to now. We might be intentional about living into our Star Word, allowing it to shape us each day. We can be intentional about practicing self-love and self-care, especially when that does not come naturally to us. We can be intentional about loving others. Indeed, with things they way they are in our world, this may be the perfect time to practice loving those that seem hard to love.
No matter what, intention will look different for each person. But collectively, we can use our intention to bring about God’s kingdom on earth. And that, I think, was always God’s intent.
Prayerworks Studio - living with intention
Prayer Bead Devotion
Cross: God of Intention,
Invitatory Bead: who sent your son, Jesus Christ,
Resurrection Bead: so that we might know your intent:
First Cruciform Bead: All of Creation was intentional; nothing was accidental. How marvelous are your works!
Week Beads, Set 1: Use each bead to praise God and consider how everything was formed with God’s intent. 
Second Cruciform Bead: I confess that I do not always live with intention.
Week Beads, Set 2: Use each bead to consider and confess the ways in which you may not always live with intention (i.e. checking out, going through the motions, not paying attention, shying away from your calling, etc.)
Third Cruciform Bead: You created us in your image so that we might reflect your intent.
Week Beads, Set 3: Use each bead to marvel at the fact that you were created in God’s image, and identify the ways in which you reflect God’s intent.
Fourth Cruciform Bead: Help me to live with intention so that I may bring you glory.
Week Beads, Set 4: Use each bead to consider the ways in which you can begin (or continue) to live with intention. 
Resurrection Bead: In the name of  your son, Jesus Christ,
Invitatory Bead: who lives and reigns with us.
Cross: Amen
Meditation: I intend to serve God.

20 Responses to Intention: January Theme and Prayer Bead Devotion

  1. Thanks, Kristen, for all your inspirational
    writings and ideas and for sharing them with
    us. My star word for this New Year is “TODAY!”
    One TODAY!is worth two tomorrows……”time is precious, short, passing, uncertain, irrevocable when gone, and that for which we must be accountable”.(Cowley)

    • Mildred – There is such wisdom in the word Today. We are indeed called to live in today, for indeed, that is all that exists. May God guide you into today, revealing all the ways in which God is guiding you, calling you, and loving you into today.

  2. Thanks for continuing to make me aware of God’s pursuing presence. I have chosen the word “Focus” as my word for this year. My husband has stage 4 cancer, and I want to focus on the time I am spending with him, as well as others who need me. My mind needs to focus on what God wants me to do to show his love and mercy to those around me.

    • Cynthia – I am so sorry to hear about your husband’s cancer. I imagine it is very difficult to stay focused during this time, which is why that word appears to be a real gift to you. I pray you will be able to trust God enough to stay focused and present in this moment, for you, for your husband, and for others, but most of all, so you can stay focused on God’s comforting presence no matter what is happening in your life. Grace and peace.

  3. My star word for this year is “hope”. I ended 2016 feeling somewhat hopeless, and I don’t want that feeling to carry through this year. Still waiting for my seven word prayer!

    • Jacquie – Hope is a wonderful word! I certainly understand the need for this word, particularly if you have been feeling hopeless. May the God of Hope wrap you in God’s peace, helping you to see God’s hand and loving presence in all things, and bringing you to a place of hope.

  4. Thank you so much for sending me the devotional and also the theme word for January. This is the first email I have received and I am so thankful. I love my prayer beads, they bring me comfort when I just touch them. To be able to have a devotional with them is so promising for my faith! Again thank you, Jean E. Schultz

    • Jean – I’m so pleased you are enjoying the blog and newsletter, and that you find the theme word to be helpful. I’m also thrilled to hear how much the prayer beads are helping you and offering God’s comfort to you. Grace and peace.

    • My dear friend, Tina! I love the word Optimism! It’s certainly a word our world needs to hear. May God bless you and keep you, helping you to be optimistic and challenging you to share that message of hope, joy, and resilience with others. Love you!

  5. My word is “consistency”. There are certain basic practices I want/need to maintain in my life for my total health and well being. The older I get (nearly 78), the easier it is for me to neglect these and the more important it is for me to maintain them. Thanks so much for including me on your mailing list. I love using my prayer beads!

    • Barbara – Consistency is such a good word, and I can see how it could be really important for your overall health and wellbeing. May God guide you to a place of consistency, one in which you are called and challenged to continue and grow your practice of health of wellbeing.

  6. My word for this year is “Ponder”. I seem to rush through readings and other interesting messages and never really think about them. I need to take the time to hear the message God is speaking.

    • I love Ponder! Particularly in this day and age I think we all struggle with short attention spans and the tendency to rush through life, so this word is a beautiful message for you and others. Bless you as you ponder the mysteries of God which unfold before and around you each day; may your pondering lead to revelations of God’s deep love for you and the world.

  7. Morning Kristin: I’ve been following you since the beginning and always find you an inspiration…your articles, your ideas…you are blessed.
    My word for 2017 is ‘ Surf’. Rrminding me to ‘Surf’ my thoughts, emotions, actions…reminding me to breath and, to ride my wave in Gods love knowing that I am surrounded by Angels.
    I had a rough year in 2016…I lost my Mother after caring for her for many years. Everything in my life seemed to be falling apart.
    Your books, your blog and, remembering to ‘Surf’ each days thoughts/emotions have helped me realize that life is good and filled with Gods love.
    Thank you for you for being in my life…

    • Stephanie – I am deeply touched by your kind words, which were perfectly timed for me in my life. Thank you. And I am delighted to hear of your word choice. Surf not only conjures up wonderful imagery, but also holds a wealth of wisdom as your Star Word. Blessings as you learn to surf, riding the waves of God’s deep love for you, feeling them splash over and enfold you, and allowing them to carry you to new places to insight, grace, and peace.

  8. Hi Kristen, it’s Karen from Kentucky. I am so blessed and grateful that God has placed you and your ministry in my path. I always look forward to reading your blog posts and newsletters. At you your invitation my word for 2015 was CHANGE. Also in 2015 I made myself a set of Christmas Prayer Beads with green invitatory and cruciform beads, clear crystal resurrection and week beads, and red seed beads. Then I added a peace dove charm to the cross. When I began thinking about a word for 2016, the word PEACE was confirmed to me several times and that became my word for the year and I used that set of prayer beads for most of the year. For the last few months I have been lacking/slacking/(just plain lazy?!) in my devotion/prayer time and want to improve. The words dedication, discipline, commitment, perseverance, and persistence came to mind but none seemed to fit. Then I read your posts about January’s theme word being INTENTION and that struck a cord with me. As I had my (intentional) devotion time this morning and was using my Christmas peace beads the word Intention was again confirmed to me and I was even given my 7-word Prayer: Lord, I intend to be at peace. I obviously still need peace in my life. It has been a pleasure and great blessing to read about everybody Star Words. They are all awesome!!

    • Karen – I loved hearing about the evolution of your Star Word each year. You are truly listening and open to receiving the word meant for you! How amazing that INTENTION is your word for this year! I love that word as well! May the God of Intention guide you inward to the place where you discover God’s intention for your life, and may you freely share that intention with the world. Peace, Kristen

  9. Kristen, It’s Karen again. This message is actually for Stephanie who replied on January 19th. I thought maybe you could forward this to her in case she doesn’t see it.

    Stephanie, I was saddened to read about the loss of your Mother and I pray that 2017 brings you the peace, comfort, and healing that you need. I lost my husband in June, 2012 and in December of that year I came across this small book by Martha Whitmore Hickman: “Healing After Loss: Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief”. I used this book for a year as my daily devotion and it spoke to me more often than not and brought me great comfort. I have so many notes, scribblings, and underlinings on the pages that I still find comfort from it even now. I hope you will find it helpful. May God’s love surround as you grieve. Blessings, Karen

    • Karen – You and your comments are such a gift! I have forwarded them on to Stephanie and pray they will be a source of comfort and hope for her. I am deeply touched by the community that is forming around this blog, particularly as readers reach out to each other to share God’s deep love. Peace, Kristen