Tradition tells us that prayer ropes (also known as komboschini or chotki) were invented when a monk was trying to count his prayers with knots, but the devil kept untying them all. One day, an angel appeared to him and showed him a knot that contains three crosses, and which the devil could not untie. This is how prayer ropes are made today, using a special, complex form of knot that has the form of the cross in it three times. Each prayer rope takes hours of work. Ours are made by a Japanese monk in Alaska and by a hermit in New Mexico. They are indispensible for the saying of the Jesus Prayer, which is at the heart of Orthodox spiritual life.