How to use an Anglican rosary

New to using an Anglican rosary? This post has all the basics you’ll need to get you started!

The parts of an Anglican rosary

First, let’s take a look at the different parts of an Anglican rosary. (See image for reference for the different parts.)

How to use an Anglican rosary | Be Still Beads

When praying an Anglican rosary, you start at the cross end with an opening prayer.

You’ll then move to the invitatory bead, which is the large bead located between the cross and the loop. This bead is used for a prayer that serves as an invitation into the praying of the rosary. It often sets the topic or focus of your prayers.

After that, you’ll move to the loop of beads itself. This loop is made up of four larger cruciform beads (called that because they form a cross when the loop is laid out as a circle) with sets of seven smaller “week” beads separating them.

In the example shown, the invitatory bead and the four cruciform beads are wood and the week beads are African turquoise. The smaller metal and wood beads that separate them are spacer beads that make it easier for your fingers to move from bead to bead and to help mark the beginning and end of each week of beads by feel.

As you move around the loop, you will use different prayers for the cruciform beads and the week beads. There are several ways to do this that range from simple to complex.

In the simplest form, you would use one prayer for each of the cruciform beads and another prayer for each of the week beads. (One example of this would be Praying the Jesus Prayer from this blog.)

In a more complex form, you might use one prayer for each of the cruciform beads and a different prayer for each of the seven week beads. In this case, each cruciform bead and each week would be the same. (An example of this is Praying the Beatitudes from this blog.)

The most complex form would use a different prayer for each of the cruciform beads and a different prayer for each of the week beads. In this case, each cruciform bead and each week would be different.

You may choose to go around the loop just once, or you can repeat the loop multiple times at one sitting. Either way, when you reach the end of the loop for the last time and come back to the starting cruciform bead, you would end by going back to the invitatory bead using either same prayer as you started with for that bead or using a closing prayer. Finally, you end on the cross with a final closing prayer or benediction.

Choosing your prayers

One of the beauties of the Anglican rosary is the ability to choose your own prayers according to your preferences, needs, or the liturgical season. However, it also can make getting started a little more challenging because it can take some experimentation to figure out what works best for you.

There are many resources available to help you choose prayers to use. This blog has a variety of options in the Anglican rosary prayers category, there are books of Anglican rosary prayers (some of which are listed in the Prayer bead books post, and there are many more resources available online.

How do you actually go about choosing which prayers to use? It really depends on what you are hoping for from your prayer practice.

If you prefer to have your prayers memorized so you pray with your eyes closed or without text in front of you, it’s probably easiest to start with a simple form. There’s less to memorize and keep straight that way. A simple form may also be more conducive for a meditative or contemplative type of prayer practice for the same reasons.

If you prefer a wider variety and are comfortable using a text (book, print out, or computer device) to guide you through your prayers, then a more complex form might suit you better.

If you like praying with scripture, it’s possible to find many options for using scripture verses (especially from the Psalms) for the prayers.

If you are a fan of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP), there are books available that use prayers from the BCP for an Anglican rosary prayer practice.

There are also ways to use this as an open form prayer practice. For example, see the Prayers of gratitude post for a form that allows for an open adaptation (while still within a comfortable structure) for a more extemporaneous method of praying.

A simple example for beginners

Feeling overwhelmed with all of the options? Here’s a simple form with well known prayers for a good starting place as you begin.

Cross:In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Invitatory bead:O God, make speed to save me. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to Father and to the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Cruciform beads:Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power,
and the glory are yours
now and for ever.
Amen.
Week beads 1-7:Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Invitatory bead:O God, make speed to save me. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to Father and to the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Cross:Let us bless the Lord.
Thanks be to God.

 


Subscribe to our monthly newsletter to learn about new blog posts and the latest Deal of the Month.