Have you ever lit a votive candle in church? The candles represent a prayer request. An Ex Votos is also a prayer symbol.
Ex Votos is a Latin term meaning “from the vow made”. Throughout Europe, people used ex votos as a physical communication with God. They purchased a small symbol and placed the “Thank You” offering in a church or shrine, next to a statue. These small tokens were a way to acknowledge God’s presence in their lives.
The symbols were made of stamped metal, cast metal, wax, plaster, wood, etc. They were shaped as body parts, animals, and miniature reproductions of everyday items. They were chosen based on the need of the communicator, i.e. a baby might indicate infertility. The Europeans liked to use silver hearts, representing the flaming heart of Jesus, and these were given in thanksgiving for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
What a great public way to say “Thank You” for answered prayers.