Anglican & Episcopal Rosary Prayer Beads
"I knew when I found your web site and read about you and your beads, that I did not have to search anymore. Bless you!"
Major religions have for centuries advocated the use of prayer
beads as an aid to prayer. A modern twist on this ancient tradition
is the development of the Anglican Rosary, also known as "Episcopal
Prayer Beads" or "Christian Rosary". Known and used as "Rosary
beads" by Roman Catholics, "Mala beads" in the Hindu religion and
"Chotki" in the Greek Orthodox tradition, the earliest prayer beads
were most probably loose stones carried in the pocket, used to number
one's prayers at set times of day. Eventually they were strung together
so as not to be so easily lost.
the Catholic Rosary has 59 beads and the Hindu mala 108,
the number of beads in the Anglican rosary has been set
at 33, the number of years in Christ's life. A set of Anglican
beads is comprised of four sets of 7 beads called "weeks".
The number 7 represents wholeness and completion, and reminds
us of the 7 days of creation, the 7 days of the temporal
week, the 7 seasons of the church year, and the 7 sacraments.
Four "cruciform" beads separate the "weeks". They represent
the 4 points of the cross and its centrality in our lives
and faith, the 4 seasons of the temporal year, and the 4
points on a compass. Anglican prayer beads use a cross rather
than a crucifix. Near the cross is the "invitatory bead".
The beads may be of wood, glass or stone and the cross of
wood or metal.
Rosary is more than a simple recitation of prayers. The
beads offer a focal point to help keep the mind still while
praying, thus allowing the prayer to become physical as
well as mental. The purpose of praying with beads is to
allow the repetition of words (a Bible verse, mantra or
portion of a psalm, for instance) to quiet the mind and
bring us into stillness. At the end of the rosary we are
invited to sit in silent communion with God.
Rosary is limited only by one's imagination. Portions of
the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, such as the daily devotionals
or Prayers of the People, are easily adapted to rosary praying.
The daily collects and lectionary readings are another possibility.
One might use a favorite canticle or psalm, or the Nicene
Creed, or even the verses and refrain of a favorite hymn.
The Jesus Prayer, Lord's Prayer or Serenity Prayer also
lend themselves well to the rosary, as do adages such as
"this, too, shall pass" or "let go and let God". All of
these methods are simply a means to the Way, a vehicle to
deep, still silence in God's presence, the ultimate form