St. Matthew's Episcopal Church

Brecksville, OH

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Anglican Prayer Beads

A Form of Contemplative Prayer

Anglican Prayer BeadsSince the earliest of times, people have used pebbles or a string of knots or beads on a cord to keep track of prayers offered to God. Virtually every major religious tradition in the world uses some form of prayer beads.

Anglican Prayer Beads are a relatively new form of prayer, blending the Orthodox Jesus Prayer Rope and the Roman Catholic Rosary. The thirty-three bead design was created by the Rev. Lynn Bauman in the mid-1980s, through the prayerful exploration and discovery of a contemplative prayer group.

The use of the rosary or prayer beads helps to bring us into contemplative or meditative prayer-really thinking about and being mindful of praying, of being in the presence of God-by use of mind, body, and spirit. The touching of the fingers on each successive bead is an aid in keeping our mind from wandering, and the rhythm of the prayers leads us more readily into stillness.

There are no set 'formulae' of prayers for the Anglican Rosary. You can begin using your Rosary with the examples included in this pamphlet. Or you can write your own using the guide below. The Rosary can be said either on its own individually, or as part of a group meditation.

Individually
Begin with the "Cross" prayer, followed by the "Invitatory" prayer and the first "Cruciform" prayer. Then going counter-clockwise begin the first of the "Week" prayers. Work around the Rosary alternating between "Cruciform" prayers and "Week" prayers. After the last set of "Week" prayers move out to the "Invitatory" prayer and finish with the "Cross" prayer.

As a group
Select a scriptural (or other) reading and divide it into four readings, and allocate readers. Start with a reflective hymn or chant. Begin on the Cross (as above). After the "1st Cruciform" read the first part of the passage. Pause for time of reflection on the passage either in silence or with music (or a combination). Then recite the "Week" bead prayers. Continue working around the Rosary in this manner. Finish either in silence or with music.


Finding Prayer Beads

St. Matthew's does not offer prayer beads for sale over the internet, though Anglican Prayer Beads are widely available. There are many options to choose from when searching at Google. We recommend that you look at the Anglican Prayer Beads made by the Solitaries of DeKoven as this will support these Anglicans in their religious vocation. Their address is:
SOLITARIES OF DEKOVEN
VIGEAT RADIX HERMITAGE
1101 County Road 204 | Santa Anna, Texas, U.S.A. 76878
| Email Us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Making Your Own Set

Perhaps the most fulfilling option is to make your own set. It is quite easy. You need a cross, and either five larger beads and 28 smaller ones. Or the cross with one large bead in one style, four large beads in a second style and 28 smaller beads.

Thread both sides of the strand coming from the cross through the first two large beads. Then on each side, string seven smaller beads, a larger bead and seven smaller beads again. You will have used all but the final larger bead. Put both of the two strands together again, and add the last bead, then tie off with a knot, and cut the string close to the knot. You're done. Looking at a picture of the beads as you string your own set will make these directions easier to follow.

Diagram of Rosary

Prayer Bead DiagramThe Anglican Rosary is made up of a "Cross" and a total of 33 beads; 1 "Invitatory" Bead, 4 "Cruciform" Beads and 4 groups of 7 "Week" Beads. The design is rich in symbolism reminding the user of key tenets of Christian faith and tradition.

The total number of beads is 33, the number of years of Christ's life on earth, reminding us that Jesus is the source of our faith.

The "Cross" recalls the saving grace of God; that God acts in our lives to bring us into the Kingdom of God.

The "Invitatory" bead calls us to prayer; to pray without ceasing.

The four "Cruciform" beads form the shape of a cross, again reminding us of the centrality of Christ in our lives. They also refer to the four points of the compass, the four elements, and the four seasons of the year. Thus we recall our connection with God, the earth, creation and Jesus' great commission to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

The seven "Week" beads represent the seven days of creation, the days of the week, the seasons of the liturgical year and the seven sacraments of the church. Again we recall our connection with God, the creator of all that is. We are also reminded that prayer is the centre Christian life; in our daily prayers and in the liturgy and sacraments of the church.

The circular nature of the Rosary formed by the "Cruciform" and "Week" beads remind us of the sense of completeness or wholeness that one gains from a deep relationship with God which is achieved through our personal prayer life, and through our communal prayer life with the church.


Symbolism of the Beads

The configuration of the Anglican Prayer Beads relate contemplative prayer using the Rosary to many levels of traditional Christian symbolism. Contemplative prayer is enriched by these symbols whose purpose is always to focus and concentrate attention, allowing the one who prays to move more swiftly into the Presence of God.

The prayer beads are made up of twenty-eight beads divided into four groups of seven called weeks. In the Judeo-Christian tradition the number seven represents spiritual perfection and completion. Between each week is a single bead, called a cruciform bead as the four beads form a cross. The invitatory bead between the cross and the wheel of beads brings the total to thirty-three, the number of years in Jesus' earthly life.

Praying with the Beads

Prayer Bead Diagram

To begin, hold the Cross and say the prayer you have assigned to it, then move to the Invitatory Bead. Then enter the circle of the prayer with the first Cruciform Bead, moving to the right, go through the first set of seven beads to the next Cruciform bead, continuing around the circle, saying the prayers for each bead.

It is suggested that you pray around the circle of the beads three times (which signifies the Trinity) in an unhurried pace, allowing the repetition to become a sort of lullaby of love and praise that enables your mind to rest and your heart to become quiet and still.

Praying through the beads three times and adding the crucifix at the beginning or the end, brings the total to one hundred, which is the total of the Orthodox Rosary. A period of silence should follow the prayer, for a time of reflection and listening. Listening is an important part of all prayer.

Begin praying the Anglican Prayer Beads by selecting the prayers you wish to use for the cross and each bead. Practice them until it is clear which prayer goes with which bead, and as far as possible commit the prayers to memory.

Find a quiet spot and allow your body and mind to become restful and still. After a time of silence, begin praying the prayer beads at an unhurried, intentional pace. Complete the circle of the beads three times.

When you have completed the round of the prayer beads, you should end with a period of silence. This silence allows you to center your being in an extended period of silence. It also invites reflection and listening after you have invoked the Name and Presence of God.

Closing your Prayers
The following ending can be used with any of the prayers listed here. After three circuits around the prayer beads, you may finish as follows:

Last time through:

Invitatory Bead
The Lord's Prayer

The Cross
I bless the Lord.

Or, in a group setting:
Let us bless the Lord
Thanks be to God.

Personalizing Your Rosary

Once you become familiar with using the Rosary as a tool for prayer and meditation you might like to write your own prayer 'formula'.

  • Select an overall theme you wish to reflect in your prayers. E.g. morning prayer, healing, peace, scriptural meditation.
  • Gather material which reflect your theme from the Bible, prayer books, poems, hymns, chants, sayings, or write your own. Be creative.
  • Write brief prayers for each group of beads and the cross.
  • The Cross might be a statement of faith or acclamation.
  • The Invitatory might be a general invitation to prayer.
  • The Cruciforms might broadly reflect the chosen theme.
  • The Weeks might specifically reflect the overall theme.

You might like to use the same prayer for each type of bead (invitatory, cruciform, week) or use a different prayer on each type of bead (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th cruciform for example).

You may also like to use of combination of written prayers and meditative chants such as those of the Taize community.


Examples of Prayers For Use With the Anglican Rosary

A Franciscan Prayer

The Cross

In the name of the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier of life. Amen.

The Invitatory Bead

We adore you most holy Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all your Churches throughout the whole world, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

The Cruciform Beads

Most high and glorious God, enlighten the darkness of our hearts and give us true faith, a certain hope and a prefect love. Give us a sense of the Divine and a knowledge of yourself, so that we may do everything in fulfillment of your holy will.

The Week Beads

My God, my all.

The Invitatory Bead

May our blessed Lady pray for us. May St Francis, St Clare and St Elizabeth pray for us. May all the saints of God pray for us. May the angels of God befriend us and watch around us to protect us. May the Lord Jesus give us his blessing of peace. Amen.

The Cross

In the name of the creator, redeemer and sanctifier of life. Amen

Bless the Lord

The Cross

Blessed be the one, holy, and living God.
Glory to God for ever and ever. Amen.

The Invitatory Bead

O God make speed to save me (us), O Lord make haste to help me (us), Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciform Beads

Behold now, bless the Lord, all you servants of the Lord. You that stand in the house of the Lord, lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the Lord.

The Week Beads

I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.

Trisagion and Jesus Prayer

The Cross

In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Invitatory Bead

O God make speed to save me (us), O Lord make haste to help me (us). Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciform Beads

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One, Have mercy upon me (us).

The Week Beads

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

Or, in a group setting:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have mercy upon us.

*Trisagion means "thrice Holy"

Agnus Dei Prayer

The Cross

The Lord's Prayer

The Invitatory Bead

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer."-Psalm 19:14

The Cruciform Beads

Oh, Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world have mercy upon us,
Oh, Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world have mercy upon us,
Oh, Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world give us Thy Peace.

The Week Beads

Almighty and merciful Lord, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, bless us and keep us. Amen.

*Agnus Dei means "Lamb of God">

 

Julian of Norwich Prayer

The Cross

In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Invitatory Bead

O God make speed to save me (us), o Lord make haste to help me (us). Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciform Beads

God of your goodness, give me yourself, for you are enough to me. And I can ask for nothing less that is to your glory. And if I ask for anything less, I shall still be in want, for only in you have I all.

The Week Beads

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
Or
In His love He has done His works, and in His love He has made all things beneficial to us.

A Celtic Prayer

The Cross

In the Name of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Invitatory Bead

O God make speed to save me (us), O Lord make haste to help me (us). Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

The Cruciform Beads

Be the eye of God dwelling with me, the foot of Christ in guidance with me, the shower of the Spirit pouring on me, richly and generously

The Week Beads

(Pray each phrase on a separate bead.)
I bow before the Father who made me,
I bow before the Son who saved me,
I bow before the Spirit who guides me,
In love and adoration.
I praise the Name of the one on high.
I bow before thee Sacred Three,
The ever One, the Trinity.

Come Lord Jesus Prayer

The Cross

"Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen."-Revelation 7:12

The Invitatory Bead

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble."-Psalm 46:1

The Cruciform Beads

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God's Holy Name."-Psalm 103:1

The Week Beads

"Come Lord Jesus, draw us to yourself."-John 12:32

Saint Patrick's Breastplate

The Cross

I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three. Of whom all nature hath creation, eternal Father, Spirit, Word: praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord.

The Invitatory Bead

Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

The Cruciform Beads

I bind unto myself today the strong Name of the Trinity, by invocation of the same, the Three in One, and One in Three.

The Week Beads

1. I bind this day to me for ever, by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
2. his baptism in Jordan river;
3. his death on cross for my salvation;
4. his bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb;
5. his riding up the heavenly way;
6. his coming at the day of doom:
7. I bind unto myself today.

1. I bind unto myself the power of the great love of cherubim;
2. the sweet "Well done" in judgment hour;
3. the service of the seraphim;
4. confessors' faith, apostles' word,
5. the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls;
6. all good deeds done unto the Lord,
7. and purity of virgin souls.

1. I bind unto myself today the virtues of the starlit heaven,
2. the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
3. the whiteness of the moon at even,
4. the flashing of the lightning free,
5. the whirling of the wind's tempestuous shocks,
6. the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
7. around the old eternal rocks.

1. I bind unto myself today the power of God to hold and lead,
2. his eye to watch, his might to stay,
3. his ear to hearken, to my need;
4. the wisdom of my God to teach,
5. his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
6. the word of God to give me speech,
7. his heavenly host to be my guard.

An Evening Prayer

The Cross

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

The Invitatory Bead

Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

The Cruciform Beads

Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep
we may rest in peace.

The Week Beads

Jesus, lamb of God, have mercy on us.
Jesus, bearer of our sins, have mercy on us.
Jesus, redeemer of the world, give us your peace.

An Evening Prayer II

The Cross

O God make speed to save us. O Lord make haste to help us.

The Invitatory Bead

As our evening prayer rises before you, O God, so may your mercy come down upon us to cleanse our hearts and set us free to sing your praise, now and forever. Amen.

The Cruciform Beads

Let my prayer rise before you as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.

The Week Beads

Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy.

The Invitatory Bead

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen.
The Cross Let us bless the Lord, thanks be to God.

The Angelus

The Cross

Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forever. Amen.

The Invitatory Bead

We beseech you O Lord to pour your grace into our hearts, that as we have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ by the message of an angel, so by His cross and passion we may be brought to the glory of His resurrection. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Cruciform Beads

1. The angel of the Lord brought tidings to Mary; and she conceived by the Holy Spirit.
2. Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.
3. The word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
4. Pray for us O Holy mother of God that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

The Week Beads

Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us now and at the our of our death.