It's a brand new year and a lot of us are going to make every effort to grow closer to God in this coming year. However, we cannot do this on our own and will need the help of both people and spiritual tools to do so. The people you will find in your family and parish. The spiritual tools can come from different sources. In addition to a good translation of the Bible and other spiritually edifying books, I have found a Rosary, a prayer rope, and icons to be of immense help as well. My wife makes rosaries, so I have that covered. However, she is not versed in the art of tying Orthodox prayer ropes, so my source for those is Theophania also known as OrthodoxCrafts.com.
OrthodoxCrafts.com makes high quality wool prayer ropes in 50, 100, 150, and 300 knot formats! They also make prayer rope bracelets in 33 knot formats (pictured above). I love my 100 knot prayer rope, but it has to stay home most days, because I haven't found a good way to carry it around without it getting lost in my key-filled pockets. That's why I love the bracelet. Some people have FitBits that they wear to track and remind them that they should be working out. I have my prayer rope bracelet, which every time I look at my wrist reminds me I should be praying at all times. The prayer that you pray on these prayer ropes is simple but powerful. You simply say slowly, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." There is not set number of times per day that you can or should say this prayer, but even going at a slow pace, you can say it 33 times (length of the bracelet) in no time at all.
In addition to making prayer ropes, they also make prayer bracelets from a seed called Panagia's Tears (pictured below). The tradition goes that the plant sprouted miraculously at the spot where Jesus' Mother Mary wept at the Crucifixion. The monks living in Skete were then tasked with using the seeds from this plant to make prayer ropes from. They are truly beautiful to be behold, and in addition to praying the prayer of the heart with them, you can also reflect on the sorrow that Mary went through and unite your suffering to hers. OrthodoxCrafts.com makes truly beautiful products because everything they make is handmade, not mass produced. If you would like to frequent their store, you can click on the link in this article or on the permanent on the right side of my blog. Make you all have a blessed and prayer-filled New Year.