United Church of Christ

Prayer Flags

Have you heard of the tradition of the Tibetan prayer flags? The ancient practice, some say, goes back to the early days of the Buddhist tradition. Prayer flags are colorful square cloths carefully sewn to twine. They are strung along mountain ridges and peaks high in the Himalayas. You will find them stretching across the grounds of Buddhist monasteries, flapping in the wind. On each piece of cloth is a prayer. Some are for goodwill and good fortune, some are for peace and some for strength.

The belief is that as these prayers are blown by the wind, as they become frayed and tattered, the prayers bless the world. The wind carries the blessing into small villages and into bustling cities, into war-torn nations and to peaceful people. The wind carries a prayer of strength to that widow mourning the death of her husband. The breeze blows blessing into that home and over that newborn baby boy resting in the arms of his mother. 

You've probably been asked to say your prayers out loud, but go ahead and be adventurous and write your prayers out loud.

Get Started

What you will need:

• Cloth or construction paper
• Twine or rope
• Tape or paper clips
• Crayons, markers, pencils
• Scissors
• Prayers and a willing heart

1. Pray and meditate. Search the caverns of your heart and mind for the prayers. Perhaps it is a prayer for peace or a prayer of thanks. Recall your day, your week. Did you witness or hear something that caused you to invoke God? Perhaps it was the man asking for money on the street corner. Pray with your kids. Ask them to come up with their own prayers and blessings.

2. Craft the flags. As you cut the cloth or paper into squares, pray your prayer. Remember that each prayer you craft is an offering to God. Be artsy. Be plain. Write out your prayers. Draw something. Attach a photo. Let your children make their own; let them go crazy with their creativity.

3. Hang the twine somewhere that you will see it everyday. Maybe in your kitchen so you can gaze at the prayers each morning as you prepare for the day. Maybe in your backyard between two trees. Maybe even over your child’s bed. Make them visible.

4. Attach each prayer to the twine and let the Holy Spirit take over. Keep these prayers always on your mind. Visit the prayer flags daily. Pray the flags often.