Orthodox prayer ropes are usually soft and made of wool. Although we might be tempted to think of them as an Eastern version of the rosary they are not. The purpose is to help us concentrate, not to imagine an event and not necessarily to count. The prayer rope is used to aid us in concentrating on the prayer. The person praying says the Jesus Prayer for each knot on the rope. Usually the rope is 33 knots long but they come in all different colors and lengths. In the famous book, The Way of the Pilgrim, the pilgrim said the prayer 2,000, then 6,000, then 12,000 times. Is 12,000 Jesus Prayers better than 2,000? Quantity has nothing to do with love, and a living relationship with Jesus. The pilgrim did 12,000, no more and no less, as an act of obedience to his spiritual father, not because he was “making progress.” He also prayed much because that was his “heart’s desire.” Every prayer is an act of love, made to the Author of Love, Who is waiting expectantly for our desire, and our acceptance of His Love.
My mission church, Saint Ignatius of Antioch, in Mesa, AZ has a small book corner. We have prayers ropes for sale at $20. If you would like to buy one let me know, operators are standing by.
COMING UP: The Jesus Prayer: Hesychaism for the rest of us