Friday, December 5, 2008

Ancient Spiritual Tool Popular in Modern U.S. Military

By Lisa B. Hamilton, December 05, 2008 Episcopal News Service

It's messages like this one from a soldier that energized Didi and Bob Smith of McLean, Virginia, and their cadre of volunteers, who have sent 3,500 prayer beads free of charge to U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since September, 2006.

Prayer beads are ancient spiritual tools to help worshippers keep track of contemplative prayer, and are used in several religious traditions, including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. In recent years, Anglican prayer beads have increased in popularity. Suggested prayers for use with Anglican prayer beads range from those from the Roman Catholic rosary or the Book of Common Prayer to those based on hymns or the writings of Julian of Norwich.

A current chaplain who witnesses the appeal of prayer beads among his troops emailed the Smiths: "Please know that those beads are a hit! I believe it's a 'sacred mystery.' Call it tactile, call it the need to hold on to something, call it what you will: my soldiers, sailors and marines are using the beads. The only thing more popular than the camouflaged Bibles and Purpose Driven Life books is the Anglican prayer beads!"

Editor's note: It has been said, "There are no atheists in foxholes". The very real fear of death is only answered by the Giver of Life...pray that the Truth of the Jesus of the Bible will reach our troops that are in harm's way.

The counting of prayers is a pagan practice and is expressly condemned by Christ.

Matthew 6:5-13
6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.[a] 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 2 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

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