Lutherans pray the rosary
Pearls of faith
The ecumenical prayer beads
A new trend is currently conquering the spiritual scene and has been gradually making its way into the churches and parishes in Germany since the beginning of the 00s. You can recognize them more and more often by their wrists, it is not uncommon for them to find space in pockets and now they are being used by more and more Christians as a mobile phone app.
We are talking about "pearls of faith", also called "pearls of life". Behind this meaningful name is a modern and at the same time timeless prayer chain, which is considered the latest addition to the ranks of prayer chains and strings of pearls in Christianity. This small export hit from Sweden was only invented in the mid-1990s by a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and has since found its way very quickly to Protestant and Catholic Christians all over the world.
But what is the meaning of the pearls of faith and what distinguishes them from other prayer chains? Find out more about the origin and meaning of this pearl ribbon as well as its special features and its use as an ecumenical prayer aid.
What exactly are the pearls of faith?
Prayer chains such as the rosary in Christianity, the misbaha in Islam and the mala in Hinduism and Buddhism are used by numerous followers of the various world religions and have enjoyed great popularity for several millennia - and unbroken success.
The pearls of faith, also called pearls of life, are a prayer chain or a prayer wreath that can also be worn as a bracelet. As everyday companions, they should help their wearer to make faith tangible and "tangible" through the senses.
The string of pearls consists of 18 pearls of different sizes, colors and materials, each with a different meaning. They can represent the various stages in Jesus' life as well as your own faith and life path.
Apart from the importance of the individual pearls, which the wearer can and should make their own thoughts about, there are no strict usage guidelines to adhere to. In this way, prayers or meditations can be held for each pearl that correspond to the respective topic.
Its purpose is to encourage people to rediscover and understand the Christian tradition, but also to learn to talk about faith and to be able to speak about it. The pearls of faith are intended to help you get back into conversation with yourself, with others and with God.
Origin and Distribution
The pearls of faith were developed by the Swede Martin Lönnebo, a bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1995, when he was stuck on a Greek island for several days due to a storm, the idea of the pearls of faith occurred to him when he saw the fishermen playing with their pearl necklaces.
In the beginning he designed it as a lifebuoy made of pearls on paper and assigned a meaning to each of them, before Lönnebo, on his return to Sweden, began to make a pearl ribbon based on this model and to pray with it. It did not take long before people in Sweden became aware of his invention and the pearls of faith spread there.
The pearls of faith came to Germany through the pastor and spiritualist Kirstin Faupel-Drevs, whom she discovered during a visit to Sweden and then brought with her to northern Germany. They were further disseminated in German-speaking countries in 2003 on the occasion of the Ecumenical Church Congress in Berlin.
This was followed by various other publications on the pearls of faith in German, which increased their fame and popularity among Protestants and Catholics and thus also consolidated and underlined their use as ecumenical prayer beads.
In the meantime, the pearls have sold over 400,000 times in Germany. There they are not only the subject of many books and numerous seminars, preparatory courses and religious instruction lessons, but also have become an integral part of everyday life for more and more Christians. For those who cannot carry the pretty prayer chains with them every day, there is now even the option of integrating them into everyday life using a mobile phone app.
More about the pearls of faith at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany
How are the pearls of life used?
Each of the 18 pearls on the prayer chain is assigned a specific meaning or theme. Depending on the pearl, the wearer can devote himself to another specific question of life, a prayer or a thought and is free to decide what should be done with the respective pearl and its meaning, as there are no fixed prayer formulations and guidelines.
In a book about the pearls of life, however, its inventor Martin Lönnebo wrote various prayer suggestions that should serve as an inspiration. In order, starting clockwise from the large golden pearl, the pearls are symbols of the way of life and represent a catechism.
Importance of pearls
The prayer chain starts and ends with the large golden pearl. Its size and color make it stand out from the rest of the pearls, provide orientation and symbolize God.
There are a total of six pearls of silence in the prayer chain. They are characterized by their oval shape and are distributed over the entire pearl band.
The I-pearl is small and has a shimmering mother-of-pearl color. It stands for your own self, which at this point may be the focus.
The baptismal bead is white and round and, through the theme of baptism, is intended to remind us that God always accompanies us through our lives.
The sand-colored desert pearl is a reminder of difficult times and situations as well as the fact that you can emerge from them strengthened afterwards.
- The pearl of serenity
In a deep blue, the pearl of serenity radiates what it is about. It should also encourage people to "let things be" for a while.
The pearls of love are red and lie next to each other in the prayer beads. One stands symbolically for the love that one gives, the other for the love that one receives.
There are three small white pearls that are placed next to each other. They remind of the secrets that we can entrust to God, but also of the most precious things we have.
This pearl is black and evokes the darkest hours of life - death, suffering and grief and encourages us not to turn a blind eye to this subject either.
- The pearl of the resurrection
The white pearl of the resurrection symbolizes the victory of good over evil and recalls hope, peace and light that overcome fear and unrest.
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