“I’ll pray for you.” We say it earnestly to convey solidarity. But sometimes, too many times, we simply say it and move on. The phrase becomes another cliché we keep on hand. But the promised prayer never happens.
I’m prone to forget promised prayers if I don’t somehow incarnate the intention. If I want to be true, I must make my prayers tangible. Moving mysterious prayers into time and space with objects I can see, touch, even smell help me remember to pray. My good intentions gain some gravity, my prayers some levity.
I imagine this is part of the rational behind prayer beads and rosaries – the prayers can be felt in our hands as the strand wraps round our fingers, beads and knuckles pressed together in supplication. It’s not about counting prayers, but remembering to pray them.