I love when God causes us to stumble on something that helps us to connect with Him.
I use a string of beads while talking to God. There is no inherent spiritual blessing or power in the beads themselves. I employ tools like beads to focus my attention while praying. Focus is a universal issue for humans who want to connect with a God who is there, but who cannot be seen or touched.
The set I use is divided into four sets of seven beads with a larger bead separating the sets of seven; thirty-two beads in all around the circle. You can browse samples at Full Circle Beads.
One day I stumbled on an idea. I assigned a topic to each of the large beads and then prayed seven prayers related to the topic. The subjects were short prompts...words that naturally trigger fill-in-the-blank sentences. The prompts were not particularly profound. They were words like You are... or I'm amazed that... or Thank you... or I love...
Starting with a large bead, I state a prompt, then work my way though seven prayerful statements. In time, I found this process to be transformative. It brought focus to my prayers; it made me think beyond just requests and it forced me to go beyond easy answers. The first three "sevens" are typically easy to rattle off, four to seven make me dig and think.
I pray four sets of sevens each time I pray. It is the opening movement in my conversation with God.
By the way, some days I want to pray sevens, and some days I have to force myself to do it. On the forced days, a life issue is dominating my thinking and I want to just rush into God's presence and start requesting or begging or whining. I've found that if I stick to the discipline of working through praying in sevens, by the time I'm done, the issue is not as dominant as the power and presence of God.
I select different prompts each day, but every day, on the third set of sevens, I start with the phrase This Is True. Planting truth in our minds is vital for the transformation of our hearts. I start with the phrase This Is Truth, then I pray a biblical truth and end with the line again, This Is True. Hearing truth--stating it and embracing it is life-changing.
So try it. Click on the link below to download a pdf of prayer prompts.
There are four cards on a sheet, so you'll need to do some cutting.
You do not have to stick with this list. Make up your own. Personalize it. Modify to do what works with your wiring.
You don't have to have beads. If you can keep on task without them, congratulations! If not, you can use coins, pebbles, your fingers, a piece of twine with knots in it, or head to Hobby Lobby and craft your own set of beads. Use any set of seven object that will help you to maintain prayerful focus.
Try it, and share your experience if you are willing.