Prayer Beads


My dear friend Karen Hernandez made these prayer beads for me to take on the Camino.  I love how artists think — they are so intentional in what they include, whether it is the fabric chosen in a quilt, colors or mediums in a painting or the particular stones in prayer beads.

Karen wrote:  “The shell is for your upcoming pilgrimage.  The clip at the top is in case you want to attach them to your pack on the Camino.  The green stones were chosen with Ireland in mind and in hopes that you would feel yourself grounded, strong, connected to God our Rock throughout your journey.”  (“Amen,” I thought!)

“The round beads are lava rock, which is very porous and light. May your heart (and your backpack) be light!  May you also be porous — absorbing all of the grace and challenges and lessons and love that come your way. Hold onto those that are meant to be held, while the others go from you as easily as they come to you.”

I was sharing in one of my groups just about some of the things I am having the opportunity to release — particularly the fears, the need to be needed, the involvement with the church, oh the list goes on  — and my lay leader Susan said, “God is lightening your pack, Brian.” Indeed.  So imagine how much more significant the choice of these porous beads was to me! I’ve discovered some really petty, small, childish thinking hidden in my heart that I am getting to release before I leave.  Good thing.

Karen continued:  “My favorite use of prayer beads is sometimes called ‘listening to the beads,’ or letting them guide my prayers.  I always find the open circles with other, movable beads inside to be the most meaningful listening/praying for me.  They generally lead me to pray about where God is moving or how I am stuck, the ways God’s love encircles me, and so on.”

“Use them as you will, in whatever way is right for you.”

That first day I received them, I took a walk, and while walking prayed through the beads.  As I came to the circle with the bead within it and began to pray about how God surrounds me with His love, His presence was undeniable, rich, tender.  I arrived at two green stones, side by side and the Lord led me to pray for couples in the church, they they would be strong in love, stand with one another, be filled with love.  With the single green stone, I prayed similarly for those who are single.  There is something powerful about holding the beads, using them, being led by them.  And there is such a richness in how much thought and prayer Karen put into them.  And such a need for continuing to learn to pray, how to pray in these times.



About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
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2 Responses to Prayer Beads

  1. David Luce says:

    What an interesting set of beads! I can see how they can prompt a whole variety of prayers as you have already discovered. I know that they won’t be your master but your servant. you will be blessed, and other people will be blessed through you.

    You know that I’ll be with you every step of the way in thought and prayer. The Lord bless your final preparations, and give you every grace for partings and reunions.

    Much, much love, my dear brother.



    • Camino Way 2016 Shimer says:

      Oh dear brother!!!! It is always such a great joy to hear from you. I love the way you phrase life– “not your master but your servant” and love that soon I will see you and be with you!!! Although until then I will be walking and living day by day, just a step at a time careful not to live into the future but only the present.

      I’ve finished all the work I can do before I leave. For these two days Karen and I are co-leading a retreat for candidates to ministry. That is a great way to experience a brief step away from the church and into this beginning departure. I’m preaching one last time Sunday in 23rd psalm! The kids will all be here in town not at church except Collin who will be working through Wednesday. Sunday night we are all eating dinner together with MATTHEW’S Parents and Matthew!! Yes, oh my David, what you started!!! Gabri and Matthew are quite the thing!!! ❤️😂😘😘 well done!!!!!

      Then Monday the sabbatical officially begins!! I’m sooooo glad!!! Excited to embark on this adventure!!!

      Love to you!!!!!



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