Anglican & Episcopal Rosary Prayer Beads
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Sincerely, Sandy D



Episcopal Rosary
Freshwater Pearl Prayer Beads

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.

Jasper Prayer Beads
Jasper Prayer Beads

While 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.

The Anglican 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.

The Anglican 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 of prayer.




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