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Prayer Cross


What is a prayer cross?

A prayer cross is a simple pendant that is usually worn around the neck in the form of a necklace. They feature the cross of Christ, and a prayer inscribed with miniature writing. The most common prayer found on a prayer cross is the Lord’s Prayer. Catholic variations of the prayer cross are crucifix pendants (which depict Christ dying on the cross) and rosary bead necklaces with crucifix pendants. It’s possible to buy prayer crosses for both men and women (male pendants tend to be more substantial in size).  Prayer crosses come in different styles – many are made out of silver or gold, or can also be carved from wood. There are also Celtic prayer crosses (a cross with a circle connecting the beams, symbolizing the everlasting nature of divine love), prayer rings, and prayer cross earrings.

The advantages of a prayer cross necklace

It provides a focus for prayer. One of the great benefits of having something physical that we can hold or gaze on is that it helps us to block out distractions – whether this be the immediate environment that we are in, or events of the day that may be going on through our minds.

A holy prayer cross is small and portable, and can be easily worn most of the time. One only needs to see it to be reminded of faith in God.

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God does nothing except in response to believing prayer.

John Wesley


Some possible objections to prayer pendants


There is a long tradition of objection to icons and physical images on spiritual themes in the Christian church. The iconoclastic riots in 16th Century Europe are examples of the intense feelings that can be aroused by those that consider icons to be idol worship and as such should be destroyed.  However, Martin Luther, himself originally against icons, in later life concluded that people should be free to use religious imagery, as long as it does not take the place of God. Prayer crosses are not “good luck charms”, they carry no power in and of themselves. They can however provide a helpful reminder for the believer to pray and trust in God. They are often also very beautiful to look at!

Acts 19 and handkerchiefs

“God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out”.

Acts 19:11 (NIV)

Here we see an example of how the Holy Spirit can use physical objects as conduits to achieve the will of God. It was not the handkerchiefs themselves that healed people, but rather the Holy Spirit healing individuals as they came to trust in God. These physical objects became symbols of God at work.