Body Prayer: Praying with Beads

Apr 2, 2017 ~ Prev | Intro | Next

Using beads in prayer is a practice found across many religions. Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, and Hindus all use strings of beads to focus prayers. While Christian rosaries are more commonly used by Catholics, Protestants also find them beneficial. The physical manipulation of the beads helps to keep people grounded while they pray. They provide a structure for prayer that creates a safe space. Carrying a string of beads with you or leaving it on your counter can offer a visible and tangible reminder to pray.

Prayer rosaries often have a symbolic number of beads. A traditional Christian rosary divides the beads into five “decades” or groups of ten beads. Ten represents the Ten Commandments. Five represents five mysteries of Christ. There are additional beads arranged in threes for the virtues of faith, hope, and love, and the Trinity. If you create your own prayer beads, you can use a number symbolic to you, perhaps twelve for the twelve apostles or seven days of creation.

Prayers are repeated on corresponding beads. You can put together your own set of favorite prayers, which may include the Lord’s Prayer, the Jesus Prayer, the Greatest Commandment (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul), or the Apostle’s Creed. The beads may represent for you people for whom you pray, as you pray freely.

On the back of this sheet is a series of five prayers that may be used with a small set of beads.1 If you want to pray with a standard Rosary, a set of prayers developed for Protestants can be found at

On the first bead recite John 1:1:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

One the second bead recite the Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen

One the third bead recite the Beatitudes: Matthew 5:3-10 (NRSV)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

On the fourth bead recite the Jesus Prayer:

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.

In the fifth bead recite the Doxology:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise God all creatures here below,
Praise God above ye heavenly host,
Creator, Christ, and Holy Ghost.