Saturday, August 7, 2010

Praying on the Beads

I was looking at the thoughts I posted last October when I felt down and sluggish. At that time and since, I've tried several ways to maintain a regular spiritual discipline. I do know that as ministers suggest, when you intentionally seek to experience God's presence, over time you "bank" the habit, the feeling, the practices that get you to the Thin Place. When life throws rocks, you can use what you "banked" to find your Thin Place again.

Since I was a very young Catholic, one of the practices that most helped to bring me close to God was reciting the Rosary. Nothing quite like repetitive prayer, aloud or silent, with smooth beads flowing through your fingers. The Rosary went everywhere with me. I could say it while I was walking to college classes, falling asleep in bed, sitting in the woods. As my spiritual journey took me away from the Marian Rosary and its emphasis on Mary and many of the "Jesus Miracles", I tucked my beads away in a small carved box. Several years ago, as an active member of an Episcopal Church, I learned of the Anglican (St. Francis) Rosary.

Like the Marian Rosary, the Anglican Rosary holds deep symbolism in its very structure, but unlike the Marian Rosary, the Anglican Rosary has no one set of prayers associated with it. The basic approach is to pray an opening prayer of faith on the cross and another prayer to settle into the Spirit on the Invitatory. Choose one prayer to repeat at the Cruciform beads and one prayer (or seven phrases) to say at each Week bead. Recently, my busy life and monkey mind have drawn me back to the Anglican Rosary for contemplative meditation. I'm using the following prayer sequence based on the Psalms:

CROSS: I believe in God as eternal and all-conquering love, in the spiritual leadership of Jesus, in the supreme worth of every human personality, in the authority of truth, known or to be known, and in the power of persons of goodwill and sacrificial spirit to overcome all evil and progressively establish the kingdom of God. Amen.

INVITATORY: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your people and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and we shall be re-created and you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen.

CRUCIFORM BEADS: The Lord's Prayer

1 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
2 Cast me not from your sacred presence, but keep me in the ways of your wisdom and truth.
3 Restore in me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me in the steadfast faith of Jesus.
4 Have mercy on me, O God, in my shortcomings; comfort me in the arms of your everlasting loving-kindness.
5 Open my lips, O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.
6 God of the poets, God of the Prophets, God of the poor and the rich, God of Creation and of Change,
7 Make my hands just. Make my feet firm. Make my body a temple fit for your service. Grant us all your peace that passes human understanding. Amen.

Glory be to God, Mother and Father, Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Thank the Lord, for all good things around us are sent from Heaven above. Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I say, Rejoice! Amen.

There are many suggestions for Rosary prayers out on the Web as well as several on-line site where you can purchase an Anglican Rosary. Create your own prayers. Create your own beads. If this practice helps you to focus, go for it. It certainly has done wonders for me and my monkey mind.


  1. I like this! I also remember times spent in prayer on the Rosary as a young child and woman but found conflict with this practice as my knowledge and experiences in my faith changed and grew. But this may be a way to tap back into the comfort of said practice without being conflicted by the theology that I have grown to disagree with. One thing that I have embraced in my adult faith experience is not only the freedom but the necessity of having a personal experience with God

  2. I'm so glad, Lynda! I had a minister once say that as you moved forward in your journey, you should take the spiritual practices that are most helpful with you. Finding a new way to pray with an old and powerful practice is definitely worth the time. Blessings!