We are thrilled to welcome Pamela Hawkins as our first Guest Blogger! Pamela is a writer, artist, United Methodist pastor and author of Behold! Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent. She has also written two other books, Simply Wait: Cultivating Stillness in the Season of Advent and The Awkward Season: Prayers for Lent. Pamela is currently serving as associate pastor of Belmont United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee.
Last week Pamela and I worked together to lead the Advent staff retreat for The Upper Room Ministries and General Board of Discipleship. It was a natural partnership, given that Pamela highlights the use of prayer beads in chapter three of Behold! At the end of the retreat, Pam led the staff through a prayer bead devotion she had written based on the themes from Behold! for the second week of Advent, and was gracious enough to share it with you here.
As I think back to the time a friend first gave me some prayer beads, I remember how I was immediately drawn to them. My church tradition had not included the use of prayer beads, at least not in any public communal way. And yet when I would go to church with my Catholic friends, or even to their homes, I was intrigued by the men and women, fathers and mothers, who were bowed in prayer with rosaries in hand. I secretly longed for beads of my own, longed to hold a strand of prayers between my fingers. Each curve of wood and knot of cord seemed sacred to me, the whole practice was full of mystery.
In this season of Advent, I find my prayer beads to continue to help me touch and hold onto the mystery of prayer. When my prayer attention is more vulnerable than ever to distractions of a season sometimes overtaken by shine, glitter, and glare, my simple strand of beads requires me to slow down, hold fast, and remember the prayers of my Advent life. Each bead counts. Each bead contains value. Each bead was formed by another child of God from somewhere in God’s world, and now, as I pray for the world God loves, I find that my own prayers wrap around the surface of the beads, much like a gift is wrapped for a loved one.
May we all take time this season to wait, watch, hold, and behold God’s waiting world. May you find the use of prayer beads to be one way to wait and prepare for the One who is to come.
Cross: In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Invitatory Bead: “Comfort, comfort my people!” says your God. (Isaiah 40:1, CEB)
1st Cruciform Bead: God of all time, leveler of all things high and low, come reveal our webs of apathy and sin with your holy, sweeping light.
1st set of Week Beads: use each bead to confess your sins to God.
2nd Cruciform Bead: Let me hear what the Lord God says, because he speaks peace to his people and to his faithful ones. (Psalm 85:8a)
2nd set of Week Beads: use each bead to think about God’s love and peace as revealed in Scripture.
3rd Cruciform Bead: Lord, help me to prepare my life to reflect your promise to others while “waiting for a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” (2 Peter 3:13)
3rd set of Week Beads: use each bead to name someone or some place in the waiting world in need of God’s promises of love, mercy, and justice.
4th Cruciform Bead: Lord, help me to prepare for your coming, help me prepare a way in my life to share the good news of your presence in the world.
4th set of Week Beads: use each bead to name the ways in which you can reveal and share the good news of Jesus to others.
Invitatory Bead: recite The Lord’s Prayer
Cross: In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray, Amen
Click here for more information about Behold! Cultivating Attentiveness in the Season of Advent.