Spiritual Practice


Zach Bechtold

Often, my prayers become stale and impersonal, and I have trouble connecting with God. In these times, I have found that making prayer tangible helps me to pray bold, honest, God-honoring prayers.

prayer beadsThroughout history, people have represented their experience of God in tangible ways. The rainbow has long been a symbol of God’s covenant with Noah. Old Testament heroes built altars to remind them of God’s faithfulness. We wear crosses as tangible symbols of the covenant God made with us through the death and resurrection of Christ.

I have discovered that prayer beads, a cross, a prayer blanket, or even a nap can help make prayer more real and tangible for me. I encourage you to try one of these ideas or to come up with your own.

  • If you choose to use prayer beads, move your fingers over the beads as you pray for other people, yourself, and various situations in your life. Each bead becomes a tangible prayer.
  • Holding on to something that comforts you, such as a cross or a prayer blanket, can be comforting, which helps to calm your mind and allows you to focus on your prayers. Not only do items such as these help you prepare to pray, but they also become tangible symbols of comfort and peace.
  • Often, we beat ourselves up for falling asleep when we pray; but as we sleep, our minds continue to focus on whatever we were doing when we were awake. What better way to focus completely on God than to let our prayers guide us into rest!


Read what Jesus said about prayer in Matthew 6:7–15.

PRAY: Start by praying The Lord’s Prayer. Find tangible ways to make this well-known prayer fresh and meaningful for your life today.

—from devozine (July/August 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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