The Chotki

ChotkiThis morning during my prayer time I used, for the first time, a chotki or prayer beads. Unlike a western rosary, the chotki originated in the eastern churches, and is typically used in a manner similar to mala beads or other prayer ropes from various spiritual traditions: unlike the rather complicated rosary, where different beads represent different prayers or meditations, each bead on the chotki simply stands for another repetition of the eastern Christian “prayer of the heart,” also known as the Jesus prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.

My chotki comes from Abbey Press. It consists of 100 wooden beads. Fran and I usually devote 20 minutes to our prayer time in the morning, and I figured I’d have no problem reciting the Jesus prayer 100 times. I was wrong. When our twenty minutes were up, I had barely made it 3/4 of the way through the beads. I wish I could say this is because I am such a master at praying slowly and attentively. But alas, it has just as much to do with how scattered my mind is. Still, it was a lovely way to anchor my prayer in the gentle rhythm of the words that contemplatives have been repeating for hundreds of years. The chotki served almost like a thread I could hold onto as I wended my way through the labyrinth of my easily distracted mind. Needless to say, this may have been my first time praying with the chotki, but it won’t be my last.

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  • Darrell Grizzle

    Praying with the chotki (I use a prayer rope, with knots instead of beads) has brought tremendous blessings into my life. Instead of the Jesus Prayer, I usually use a prayer from the Franciscan tradition that was taught to me by the Rev. Dr. John Westerhoff: “Gentle loving God, Mother of my soul, hold me as your own.”

  • Jan

    Like Darrell, I often use a wool knotted prayer rope. Thank you, Darrell, for that beautiful prayer to the Theotokos.

    I’ve been praying the Jesus Prayer in Greek ever since someone recommended that to me at the Shalem Institute. This is a season of that for me; we’ll see where I’m guided in the future.

    Thank you.


    Please can you help me contact pastor Darrel kinoi of United States of America,if contacted he may send me an emaill on the above email address,i will be greatfull if you help me find him, i remain David Takalirya of annointed church of kintitale Uganda(AFRICA).

    • Carl McColman

      Sorry, I do not know Pastor Kinoi.