Practice@People's: Prayer Beads

Prayer is not a pious decoration of life but the breath of human existence.
— Henri Nouwen

Lord’s Prayer

Cross: In the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Invitory Bead: Our Father

Resurrection Bead: Who art in heaven

First Cruciform bead: Hallowed be thy name.

First set of Weeks beads: offer “hallowed be thy name” on each bead.

Second Cruciform bead: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Second set of Weeks beads: offer “thy will be done” on each bead.

Third Cruciform bead: Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Third set of Weeks beads: offer “forgive us” on each bead.

Fourth Cruciform bead: Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Fourth set of Weeks beads: offer “deliver us from evil” on each bead.

First Cruciform bead: For thine is the kingdom

Resurrection bead: And the power

Invitory bead: And the glory forever

Cross: Amen.


The Greatest of These is Love prayer:

Cross: In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Invitory bead: Teach me your ways

Resurrection bead: Christ Jesus.

First Cruciform Bead: Joy

First set of Weeks beads:Meditate on the word joy.

Second Cruciform bead: Faith

Second set of Weeks beads:Meditate on the word faith.

Third Cruciform bead: Hope

Third set of Weeks beads: Meditate on the word hope.

Fourth Cruciform bead: Love

Fourth set of Cruciform beads: Meditate on the word love.

First Cruciform bead: And the greatest of these is Love.

Resurrection bead: May it be so

Invitory bead: In my life

Cross: Amen.

Kate Sweet

Pastor of Spiritual Care and Development

I have to admit, when I try to spend time praying, my mind only stays on track for about two minutes max if I’m just left to come up with something out of my own imagination. Soon I find myself reviewing my grocery list or replaying a conversation I had earlier in the day, rather than focused on my original intention—connecting with God through prayer.

This is why I have come to appreciate using prayer beads. Beads create a tactile focus point to help prompt prayer. If I find my mind wandering, the feel of the bead helps bring me back to attention. Usually a prayer or phrase is associated with each bead, which can be very useful when the words for prayer just won’t come on their own.

Praying with beads is an ancient practiced used by many different spiritual traditions. Praying the Rosary in the Catholic tradition is one of the most common expressions of this practice. More recently, Protestants have been discovering the benefits of this practice, too. Anglican prayer beads are the most common form.

Anglican prayer beads look like this:

anglican prayer bead image.jpg

Just this past week the church staff had a retreat day together to refresh our spirits and prepare for the ministry year ahead. I made a set of prayer beads for each staff member and invited them to try out some of the prayer prompts listed below. 

If you'd like to give it a try,  this is how to pray using beads:

Hold the beads in your hands to begin. Take a moment of silence to center yourself in God’s loving presence. Invite God to be near to you as you offer this prayer. You will pray by moving along the string of beads with your forefinger and thumb in a counter-clockwise manner, starting with the cross bead. You may offer the word/prayer silently, or out loud.

There is nothing magical about these particular words; feel free to get creative and assign new words, phrases, prayers, or scripture references to each type of bead to create a personalized prayer.

Full Circle Prayer:

Cross: Loving God

Invitory bead: You have called me into this time of prayer

Resurrection bead: To be with you.

First Cruciform Bead: I praise you, Lord, for…

First set of Week Beads: Offer aword of praise to God on each week bead, thinking of qualities of God for which you would want to give praise.

Second Cruciform Bead:I ask, Lord, for your forgiveness for…

Second set of Week Beads: …use each bead to name a sin or experience of harm you would like to ask forgiveness for, in your own life or on behalf of the human community.

Third Cruciform Bead: I pray for…

Third set of Week Beads: Use each bead to offer your prayers of joy and concern.

Fourth Cruciform Bead: I am thankful for…

Fourth set of Week Beads: …use each bead to offer up something for which you are grateful.

First Cruciform bead: Hear my prayer.

Resurrection bead: Christ is Alive in me.

Invitory bead: Thanks be to God!

Cross: Amen.

Kate Sweet