Posts Tagged ‘Episcopal prayer beads’

In my last post, I showed you how I made a set of prayer beads suitable for brides. Now we move on to the prayers.

As I said in the previous post, I used the Anglican rosary form to create these bridal prayer beads, but I was inspired to add three beads on the stem, between the traditional invitatory bead and the first cruciform bead. These beads represent the three marriage vows – to love, to honor and to cherish. Some of us – me included – sometimes need a little extra help to remember and keep these vows as well as we should.

Sources for the following prayers are Women’s Uncommon Prayers: Our Lives Revealed, Nurtured, Celebrated and Prayers for Hope and Comfort: Reflections, Meditations and Inspirations by Maggie Oman Shannon. I’ll be writing more about this last book in an upcoming post. And I actually wrote the vows prayers myself – something I seldom do. Feel free to mush all these prayers around as you see fit – change their order, write your own, drop them altogether for something you find more suitable. Here’s my mantra – if it feels like a prayer to you, it feels like a prayer to God.


May the faith that gives us hope,

May the love that shows the way,

May the peace that cheers the heart,

Be ours this day and always.


May the wisdom of God lead us in His/Her marvelous way,

Be our shelter by day and a blaze of stars by night.

May He/She stir our inmost beings always to seek Him/Her,

And the wisdom, love and grace of God

Be upon us and with us always.


1 – Lord, help us to keep our vow to love each other by remembering your love for us.

2 – Lord, help us to keep our vow to honor each other by seeing each other as your precious children.

3 – Lord, help us to keep our vow to cherish each other by remembering we are both created in your image.


May we live in peace without weeping.

May our joy outline the lives we touch without ceasing.

May our love fill the world, angel wins tenderly beating


1 – Lord, guard us, your children, wherever we wander,

2 – Lift us high when we falter or founder

3 – Place our feet on rocks and not on sand

4 – Give us your hand as we walk through the darkness.

5 – Strengthen our souls with bright hope from above,

6 – Keep joy in our hearts against all the world’s starkness,

7 – And fill all our emptinesses with your love.

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Last Sunday morning, before my husband and I piled our son’s undergraduate detritus in our van and headed home from Pasadena, I stopped into All Saints Episcopal Church for the 9 a.m. worship service. I took with me my set of Episcopal prayer beads that I made at the Sea Ranch – the ones made from paper beads made by women in Uganda.

Full disclosure – I have used Rev. Susan Russell, an All Saints pastor, as a source for several stories I wrote for Beliefnet.com on the Episcopal Church’s struggle with homosexuals in the church. I have also listed her a source for other reporters to use as a source on the same subject for ReligionLink.

I love this church. I have visited it before on other trips we have made to see our son. It looks like my idea of church should look. It is a traditional stone structure with the traditional nave, apse and transept layout, with the four arms of the church ending in four gorgeous stained glass windows. The appointments of the church are traditional, too, with woodcarvings that decorate the podia and stonecuts that adorn the communion rail. An elaborate wooden latticework runs across the top of the altar to separate the choir from the congregation. It is just lovely.

But what pleased me even more that this church belies the commonly held notion that Sunday morning is the most segregated time in America. I am happy to tell you that I worshiped this morning with blacks, whites, Asians and Latinos. There was a lot of grey hair, yes, as in most mainline Protestant churches, but there were lots of young people, too, including a couple in the pew in front of me who came in jeans and t-shirts and fit right in. The music we sang consisted of traditional English hymns, African-American spirituals and some Spanish verses to old Christian standards. It felt like God’s home should feel like.

The sermon was given by the Rev. Abel Lopez, and the subject was forgiveness. Father Lopez said that forgiveness isn’t usually a sermon topic – perhaps because if you preach about forgiveness, you have to preach about sin, a touchy subject. But he said there is a “universal hunger in the human spirit for forgiveness, both to give it and to receive it.” He said forgiveness is “the heartbeat of grace.” As an example of the power of forgiveness, he pointed out Bishop Gene Robinson (and you can see what I have written about him in the above Beliefnet.com stories), who has been a lightning rod of controversy as the first openly gay man consecrated to bishop by the Episcopal Church. Last week, Robinson entered into a civil union with his longtime male companion – just after making out his will in case any of the death threats he has received were successful. Father Lopez called him, “our brother, Gene Robinson” and described him as “forgiveness in action. . . . He can only exhibit what he does because God’s grace and forgiveness are in him.”

After the sermon came communion. This is my favorite part of the service, the time I feel closest to the holy and the sacred. It is when I pull out my prayer beads and try to focus on aligning myself with the divine. I carry some of my favorite prayers on a laminated card in my purse, but was inspired to use instead some of the lines of the collects, liturgy and prayers printed in the bulletin given each person at the door. You can do this, too, at any worship service you attend. Just pull out the words from the service that feel most like prayer to you. This is what I came up with for my Episcopal prayer beads, but I could have said them on a Catholic rosary, a Pearls of Life or any unique set of prayer beads I have constructed. Here goes . . . .

For the terminal charm, I said an old standard, heard in most mainline Protestant services:

“In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be Amen.”

For the invitatory bead, I turned to the 3rd page of the program, where the church very helpfully included two prayers of meditation that worshipers could use as they waited for the service to start. I picked this one:

“God known and beyond all knowing, thank you for the blessings of the past and for those who have gone before us, upon whose shoulders we stand. Energize us to seize the present moment and fire our imagination for the future, that we may dare great thing sin your name. Amen.”

“Fire our imagination for the future” – I love that. That is exactly what I, as a writer, need. And to “dare great things” – safe writing is boring writing. For me, this is a powerful prayer.

For the cruciform beads, I turned to the consecration section of the communion liturgy, also printed in the bulletin:

“Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

But, for a less Christ-centric prayer, I could have used the salutation from the very beginning of the bulletin:

“Blessed be God: Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.

And blessed be God’s kingdom, now and forever.”

And for the weeks beads, I chose the following from a refrain in the “prayers of the people” section of the service:

1) Holy and gracious God, bless me with peace,

2) Holy and gracious God, bless me with hope,

3) Holy and gracious God, bless me with wisdom,

4) Holy and gracious God, bless me with generosity

Then, for the remaining three beads, I made up my own requests –

5) bless me with patience

6) bless me with strength

7) bless me with courage

and if I had been using a Catholic rosary, I could have added (and did, in a mixture of prayer)

8) bless me with purity

9) bless me with kindness

10) (in the spirit of the sermon) bless me with the power to forgive and to be forgiven.

I don’t when I will be back in Pasadena – if ever – but I will certainly make a run to All Saints. Its spirit of inclusion and joy and purpose infused me with a brightness that I still feel.

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shamrocks.jpgI hope none of you are so far into your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that you don’t have the energy to do a little prayer bead session with my favorite saint! You shouldn’t be too far gone – it’s only 2:30 p.m. here in California – but I realize that’s Happy Hour time in NYC, the place with the best St. Pat’s Day parade I’ve ever seen. Ah, well.

In the hopes that we all have some time for spiritual matters today, I offer you this set of prayers for the Anglican/Episcopal prayer beads and the Catholic rosary. You will find a longer version of this set of prayers in my book, “Bead One, Pray Too: A Guide to Making and Using Prayer Beads,” which I understand has begun shipping from Amazon.com this week. I took it from a translation of Saint Patrick’s Breastplate by Wiley Stokes, John Strachan and Kuno Meyer. As always, feel free to pick and choose what you like from the following and mix it up with your own stuff! St. Patty would approve, I am sure.

On the Cross/Crucifix/Terminal Charm:

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same,

The Three-in-One, the One-in-Three.

On the Invitatory Bead/First Our Father Bead:

The Lord’s Prayer 

On the Cruciform/Our Father Beads:

I bind unto myself the Name,

Of whom all nature hath creation,

eternal Father, Spirit, Word.

On the First and Third Sets of Weeks Beads/First, Third and Fifth Sets of Decade Beads: 

1. I bind this day to me forever by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation.

2. His baptism in the Jordan river;

3. His death on the cross for my salvation;

4. His bursting from the spiced tomb;

5. His riding up the heavenly way;

6. His coming at the day of doom:

7. I bind unto myself this day.

8. Christ be with me, Christ within me,

9 . Christ to comfort and restore me,
10.  Christ in hearts of all that love me, friend and stranger.

On the Second and Fourth Sets of Weeks Beads/ On the Second and Fourth Sets of Decades Beads: 

1. I bind unto myself this day the virtues of the starlit heaven,

2. The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

3. The whiteness of the moon at even,

4. The flashing of the lightning free,

5. The whirling wind’s tempetuous shocks,

6. The stable earth, the deep salt sea,

7. Around the old eternal rocks.

8. Christ be with me, Christ within me,

9. Christ to comfort and restore me,
10. Christ in hearts of all that love me, friend and stranger.

Returning to the Invitatory Bead/First Our Father Bead:

The Nicene Creed or Apostle’s Creed

On the Cross, Crucifix or Terminal Charm: 

I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity,

by invocation of the same,

the Three-in-One, the One-in-Three.

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book-cover-image.jpgEvery major world religion has some tradition of counted prayer. And in all of these religions save one, these prayers are counted on beads. For Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants, prayer beads form a link between these diverse faiths and varied cultures.

My name is Kimberly Winston and I am a freelance religion reporter and author of a new book, Bead One, Pray Too: A Guide to Making and Using Prayer Beads. Among the forms of prayer beads I explore in the book are Hindu and Buddhist malas, Islamic subhas, Catholic rosaries, Anglican and Episcopal rosaries, Lutheran prayer beads, the ecumenical rosary and the Pearls of Life. The book is both practical – explaining how to make several forms of prayer beads and suggesting prayers for them – and personal – documenting my own spiritual journey with prayer beads. Bead One, Pray Too will be published in April 2008 by Morehouse Publishing.

The purpose of this blog is to begin a conversation with my readers and others who are interested in or use prayer beads of any kind. I hope we can share ideas on how to make different forms of prayer beads, either traditional or original, and on how to pray with them.

On this blog, I also plan to interview people of different religions about their prayer beads, how they use them and what they mean to their personal spirituality. We will talk to Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Neo-Pagans, including Wiccans and Druids. And while Judaism has no tradition of prayer beads, we will learn about the tzitzitTzitzit special knotted fringe on tallit, the Jewish prayer shawl – that are fingered during certain prayers. The purpose of these interviews will be to highlight the common thread that prayer beads and counted prayer represent to members of these diverse religions.

I am brand new to the world of blogging and I am sure I will make some mistakes. I ask your patience and indulgence as I find my way through the blogging world.

The book won’t be out until April 2008, but maybe we can start the conversation now. I would love to hear from anyone who makes or uses prayer beads of any form

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