When I received the call to make prayer beads seven years ago, I had no idea how to get started. I had never done beading and had certainly never made beads to pray with. But I had been collecting them for almost twenty years, so I took a set of Protestant (Anglican) prayer beads to a local bead shop and asked how to make it. Here is a photo of the first set I ever made:
It was not a bad start, and from there I continued to practice and learn and improve. Thus, in honor of our 7th anniversary I want to share my top 7 prayer bead designs.
- My all-time favorite design is the one posted on the cover of my first book, A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner’s Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads. I’ve had MANY requests to recreate this design, unfortunately, I have never been able to find the same beads. It is truly one-of-a-kind.
- I began working with Kazuri beads a few years ago. Kazuri beads are handmade by women in Kenya who are paid a fair wage. The beads are perfect for prayer beads because they are so tactile and beautiful; each bead is unique in shape, size, and color. Because they are so large, I generally use Kazuri beads for chaplets (a smaller form of Protestant prayer beads). This is one of the first sets I made and I had a hard time parting with it because I loved it so much. But now my friend, Cyndi, uses it, making it even more beautiful.
- This is the one set on this list I did not make. The first Christmas after my calling, my son, Matthew, wanted to make a set of prayer beads for Max. One afternoon we sat at the dining room table amidst all of my beads. He had already decided he wanted to make a small set for Max to keep in his pocket, so I showed him how to make a Protestant prayer strand. But he wouldn’t listen! I told him about the Invitatory Bead and the Cruciform Beads, but he insisted on doing his own thing. At one point, he went into his room and came back carrying his Children’s Bible, which he opened to the first chapter in Genesis. He then carefully chose beads to represent each of the seven days of Creation. I waited to see what he would choose to represent “rest” on the Sabbath, and laughed when he chose a bead with the letter “z.” (You know, because when God rested God went, “zzzzzzzzz.”) Not only did Max love his Christmas gift, but Matthews Days of Creation Strand is now one of our top sellers. Better yet, Matthew taught me a valuable lesson: prayer beads don’t have to follow a particular pattern to work. God hears our prayers no matter what the prayer beads look like! Blessed are the children . . . and their teachings.
- Czech glass beads are among my favorite beads. They are always fun, unique, textured, and perfect for prayer beads. This set features gorgeous aqua blue Czech beads with picture jasper. It also features one of my favorite pendants: a dove made of olive wood from the Holy Land.
- This was the second or third design I ever made, and it has remained one of my favorites and also one of our best-sellers. I love the earthiness, and the fact that it works for both men and women.
- This chaplet stands out just because it is fun and makes me smile every time I see it. Never be afraid to have fun prayer beads! They are a reminder that we were created for Joy!
- This orange and teal fire agate set, which is featured on the cover of my upcoming book, Beads of Healing: Prayer, Trauma, and Spiritual Wholeness (Upper Room Books, 2017) just feels relaxing. The beads remind me of the beach. Currently, we are out of the beads for this design, but I’m hoping to find more because I anticipate requests for it when the new book is published.
What are your favorite prayer bead designs of yours, ours, or someone else’s? We’d love to see!