The Making of Prayer Flags

High in the Tibetan Himalayan, colorful flags of blue, white, red, green, and yellow flutter in the wind. These are Tibetan prayer flags.

“Traditionally, prayer flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. The flags do not carry prayers to gods, which is a common misconception; rather, the Tibetans believe the prayers and mantras will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.” Source: Wikipedia

By hanging these colorful flags, Tibetans are sending their prayers out into the universe to be carried off by the wind and therefore sending their prayers to those who are in need of them.

As the image on the flag fades, the prayers become a part of the universe, renewing hope for the world and the people in it; and blessing the world. It also symbolizes the circle of life and how it changes and renews with everyday.

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Prayer flags are not just a Buddhist tradition. These colorful flags have gained popularity in many other religions, including Christianity, although some prefer to call them praise flags or prayer banners instead of prayer flags. I found this craft project on the United Church of Christ website.

There is a difference between Tibetan prayer flags and Christian prayer flags. Tibetan flags are prayers meant to be shared and bless the world. Christian flags are our prayers, communicated to God. Either way, these flags are a beautiful symbol of our hearts.

grace-prayer-flag-one-word

Someone once told me dreams and prayers are meant to be spoken. By speaking them you are sending it out into the universe to be fulfilled and to reach another who will encourage you along in your dreams and prayers.

My One Word for 2017 is prayer. I am always looking for new and creative ways to renew my prayer life. The concept of a prayer flag is interesting to me. God is the creator of the universe. He created the wind. He hears our prayers on the wind too.

“…16 pray that out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love…” Ephesians 3:16-18

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When researching prayer crafts I stumbled upon The Prayer Flag Project blog. There I found others displaying their faith with flags, sending their heart-felted prayers into the universe. This got me thinking about not just prayer but my One Word and the One Word of my friends.

health-one-word-prayer-flag

What if we hung prayer flags as a tool to keep the promise of our word all year long? So, that is where I am, sewing flags to be given away so that prayers for the new year may be answered. The heart on the flag is symbolic of writing the prayer on your heart as Jesus dwells in our hearts.

adventure-one-word-prayer-flag

Prayer flags are just one tool to renew my faith and have a conversation with God. And these flags are a colorful addition to bland colorless winter backyard!

One Little Word :: 2017 #prayer

Do you make New Years resolutions? Not me. I always have good intentions to get in shape. Then, by February I am sitting on the couch eating guacamole and chips, watching The Biggest Loser.

Instead of a resolution I choose One Word. One word helps keep me focused for 365 days.

There is only one rule for my word: My word must mean something deeply to me, or I will just forget about it, and end up doing nothing at all…or eat a huge heaping bowl of guacamole and chips.

Every year I wait.

I wait for my One Word to speak to me. Some years it’s been a load roar, and other years it’s been a soft whisper.

2016 was the year of gratitude for me; then this summer my word changed unexpectedly.

Just when the crap was hitting the fan around our house….my gratitude journal turned into a prayer journal…and that, PRAYER, has been my word ever since. And it kind of saved my sanity, talking to God.

I feel Prayer isn’t done with me yet. So, 2017’s word will continue to be Prayer.

one word, prayer

photo by pexels.com

Because this world can use more prayers. And me too.

Scripture instructs us to pray. Jesus did it. (Luke 5:16 is just one example.) Prayer is one way we foster a relationship with God.

Here are three things I am doing to strengthen my prayer life in 2017:

  • Reading and focusing on scripture, then praying about what I read. It’s easy to pray about what I want Him to do to fix the messes in my life. But it’s not really about the messes being fixed, it’s how I handle those messes, and trusting that He is right there with me…in the middle of the mess. Pray helps me realize that.
  • Keeping a prayer and gratitude journal. Because of my natural desire to write (I have kept a journal for years), this one just fits for me. It sits on my nightstand along with my Bible and a mug full of different colored pens to, you know, keep it colorful and creative. Even though everything is handy, I still battle to write a prayer when I am exhausted and just want to sleep. It’s an appointment I will need to work to keep.
  • I will pray for others. There are so many in my life who are struggling. Whether it’s health, professional, marriage, whatever. I will pray for them as well.

So, what’s your word for 2017?

one little word

I am linking up with the Faith Barista. Looking for uplifting encouragement for the new year? Go check out the wonderful ladies also sharing their #OneWordCoffee. And she is giving away $100 of Word Matter Letterpress Blocks from Dayspring!

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Some of my One Words that I have chosen in the past:

2009: Be, as in “just be in the moment.”

2010: Faith

2011: Nourish.

2012: Explore

2013: Joy

2014: Leap

2015: Create

2016 (first half): Gratitude; (second half) Prayer

Legend of the Silver Pine Cones

Silver pinecones

ADVENT // Day One

There is an old German legend that goes something like this: Once upon a time there was a poor family without enough food to eat or wood for a fire. The mother decided to go into the forest to search for pine cones; which she could burn for warmth. Perhaps, she might be able to sell a few of the pine cones and make a little money to buy food too.

In the forest, she began picking up the fallen cones.

“Why are you stealing my pine cones?” The voice came from a tiny elf.

“My family is cold and hungry,” the woman explained. “I can burn the pine cones in the fireplace and maybe sell a few for money to buy food for my family.”

The elf said, “Go into the next forest. The pine cones are much better there.” Then the elf vanished.

The woman, exhausted and tired, made her way to the next forest. The elf was right! In the forest there were pine cones all over the ground and the woman quickly filled her basket. How happy everyone will be at home tonight, she thought. The sun was setting as she made her way home.

When she arrived home, she started a small fire. Everyone slept warm and comfy that evening. Happy, the mother set the basket next to her rocking chair where fell asleep . The next morning she reached into the basket to start a new fire, but was surprised to find the pine cones had all turned to silver!

The woman was able to buy all the food her family needed for the winter, and even then she had many silver pine cones left for the coming years.

Some people still believe that a silver pine cone brings luck. Hang one on your tree, decorate your mantle, or paint some pine cones silver this holiday season and give them to friends and family, along with a copy of this story. It is a simple gift, but one that is sure to be treasured.

Gratitude on Display

greatful heart

One thing we do in November is put our gratitude on display.

Practicing gratitude trains us to be in the moment, to slow down when life gets crazy, look around and realize life is pretty awesome. It won’t take away our troubles but, the deliberate act of practicing gratitude at the end of the day is a guarantee that we’ll appreciate what we have rather than what we don’t.

“I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” ~Psalm 9:11

gratitude craft

The star is filling up…

Using a barn wood star I recently purchased at a vintage flea market, we are attaching canvas hearts written with the little things we are grateful for. Because, everyday, there is something to be thankful for.

“You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.” ~Unknown

gratitude

Don’t wait for Thanksgiving. Try a little gratitude today.

The rules we break.

You can’t eat pizza for breakfast. Or grilled cheese.

You can’t eat ice cream for dinner, either.

Your clothes have to match. So do your socks.

You can’t write in your Bible.

You must have birthday cake on your birthday.

You shall not sing loudly in church if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket.

These are all rules that don’t exist. Seriously, they’re not real. There really aren’t fashion police, or food police, or singing police just waiting to haul you off to jail if you break one of these non-rules. And, unless Simon Cowell attends your church, go for it, sing at the top of your tone-deaf lungs. Praise the Lord.

You can have birthday donuts, birthday pie, or birthday beer if you want. It’s YOUR birthday, after all.

There are a lot of rules we do just because we have been told they are rules. There is no real reason for them, but yet, we call them rules…anyway.

Then, there are real rules. Like, look both ways before crossing the street so you don’t get hit by a bus.

Golden rule

Image source: pixels.com

And the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. (Luke 6:31, Matthew 7:12)

That rule right there won’t get your melon squashed by a bus if you break it, but it can be far more dangerous. It’s a basic human rule. It crosses across nations and religions. It means to treat others as you want to be treated.

And, if this past week’s fall-out from the Presidential election has shown me anything, it’s that humans have been ignoring the Golden Rule. With wild abandon.

We haven’t been nice to each other. We talk (or blog) a good game of being nice, hearing each other out, accepting differences, coming together. But we haven’t been doing it.

We talk of accepting opinions that are different from ours, but then we name call and put each other down when those different opinions win at the polls.

We talk of coming together, but then we smash windows, set cars on fire, riot at police and create a bigger divide between us. We label each other as white America, thugs, bad hombres.

We unfriend one another on Facebook because they voted opposite of us. On Tuesday morning you’re friends, by Wednesday morning you’re no longer welcome on their feed.

We talk of showing the love of Christ to those who don’t know Him. But we don’t actually do it. We attack them for not knowing, not understanding fully. We fight their hate with more hate. The hate I have heard come from Christian mouths lately is disturbing.

And that ain’t winning.

It wasn’t one candidate who lost last week. It was all of us.

And until we start to truly treat each other how we want to be treated we will continue to lose no matter what side of the aisle we stand.

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LINKING UP with Holley Gerth.