Posts Tagged ‘Lutheran prayer beads’

Last time we explored a single form of prayer beads, we looked at those used by Baha’is. Really, no rhyme or reason here – I just feel like exploring the Pearls of Life next.

The Pearls of Life – sometimes called The Wreath of Life – are one of the newer forms of prayer beads. They are Lutheran in origin and popped up within the last 20 years. They were created by Martin Lonnebo, a bishop in the Church of Sweden, who spent time on a trip to Greece contemplating the use and meaning of icons. You can read an interview with Lonnebo about the Pearls here.

The Pearls of Life is a smaller form of prayer beads, with a total of only 18 beads – 12 round ones and 6 oblong ones. Traditionally, it has no religious totem – no cross, crucifix or other symbol. Lonnebo has assigned each of the beads a specific symbolism, which you can read about here.

Like many of the newer forms of prayer beads, the Pearls of Life have no proscribed prayers – the user is free to assign any prayer he or she likes to any of the beads. It is a free-form prayer tool – you can sit in meditation and use it as an anchor for breathing, or you can use it more like a traditional rosary, reciting one, two or more prayers on the beads. You choose.

I recently made my first set of Pearls of Life. I am a notoriously literal person, so I went first to the synthetic pearl section of my local bead store, Baubles and Beads. But when I started to let my imagination go, I found myself in the semi-precious section, the glass section and the metal section. I came home with pearls, jasper, glass and blue lace agate beads. And for the all-important God bead, I found this great sphere of wrapped brass wire – it is hollow, sturdy, prickly, round, cool to the touch – but the metal picks up the heat of my fingers very quickly. Talk about symbolism!

In Bead One, Pray Too, there are directions for making the Pearls of Life on page 142. It is just basic bead stringing – thread a needle, string the beads, tie a knot. Just be sure and string the beads in the proper order – also on page 142 – or you can refer to the Pearls of Life website above. Here’s the set I came up with:

When you make your own set, feel free to explore the form. You don’t have to make it of round and oblong beads – you can distinguish your beads with other shapes or only with color. And if it suits you, add a charm or two. You can replace one or more of the beads with a cross, a heart, a star, a tassel, a flower – anything. See Deborah’s J.’s great set where she used a butterfly to represent the Resurrection Pearl – a fabulous idea.

Now go make some prayer beads – and send me pictures of what you come up with and what prayers you choose.


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