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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!