This week, I have been thinking a lot about silence. It has been a week split between long days at home alone with my dog, Bella, and the computer and a weekend of raucus fun with girlfriends at a knitting convention that attracted thousands of people. In the first part of the week there was silence so deep I could hear Bella’s stomach rumble, and in the second part of the week my throat was sore from shouting above the common noise. At the end of the week, it struck me that we need both kinds of days – ones in which we can hear nothing but the rhythms of our own heart and ones in which we can hear nothing but the voices of others. The key is how to strike the right balance. If anyone figures that out, drop me a line. In the meantime, this week I am offering up a set of Lenten prayers for prayer beads on the joint themes of silence and sound.
Below you will find the prayers laid out for the Anglican/Episcopal form of prayer beads. It is a simpler set of prayer beads than the Catholic rosary. But these prayers can be said on any set of prayer beads. If you are using a Catholic rosary, say the prayers marked On the Weeks/Decade Beads ten times instead of seven, and apply them to the three Hail Mary beads on the rosary’s stem, too. For the second Our Father bead, you can recite the prayer for the Cruciform/Our Father beads an extra time, or any prayer of your choosing. And when you get to the medal of the rosary, you can say any prayer you like – either one found here or another that you know.
If you are using another form of prayer beads – a Buddhist or Hindu mala, an Islamic subha, a set of Pearls of Life or some other form you have created and strung for yourself, you can compose these prayers in any order that suits you. It does not matter what you pray, only that you pray. I recommend that you say your prayer beads three times around before returning to its stem and exiting with a final prayer on the cross, crucifix or any other terminal charm you have.
Sources: The Invitatory/First Our Father Bead prayer is from Psalm 102. The Cruciform/Our Father Beads prayer was written by Pere Jean Nicholas Grou (1731-1803), a Jesuit priest, and is printed in 2000 Years of Prayer compiled by Michael Counsell. The Weeks/Decades Beads prayer is a section of a prayer written by Mrs. Sallie Cheavens Verette and published in Women’s Uncommon Prayers.
On the Cross/Crucifix:
Glory to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen
On the Invitatory/First Our Father Bead:
Lord, hear my prayer, and let my cry come before you,
Hide not your face from me in the day of my trouble.
Incline your ear to me; when I call, make haste to answer me . . .
My days pass away like a shadow, and I wither like the grass.
But you, O Lord, endure forever, and your name from age to age.
On the Cruciform/Remaining Our Father Beads:
O my divine Master, teach me to hold myself in silence before you, to adore you in the depths of my being, to wait upon you always and never to ask anything of you but the fulfillment of your will. Teach me to let you act in my soul, and form in it the simple prayer that says little but includes everything. Grant me this favor for the glory of your name.
On the Weeks/Decades Beads:
I am still; I listen.
I hear you say, “I am your strength.”
I say to you, “You are my redeemer.”
My Lord, my God.
Returning to the Invitatory Bead/First Our Father:
Repeat first Invitatory Bead/First Our Father prayer
Returning to the Cross/Crucifix: