All: Prayer Beads – a way to ‘pray without ceasing’?

For some people, prayer beads can help to raise and maintain an awareness of the presence of God and to focus on specific prayer themes throughout the day.

Recently, Mary Clancy (Varroville Seculars) spoke on icons and prayer beads and made available a great variety of beautiful beads.  I bought some lovely beads and have begun to use them in different ways.  Below are some examples.  You might find other ways.  Use your freedom and be creative.  Next time you’re at the Carmelite Retreat Centre at Varroville, have a look at the beads in the Priory Bookshop and see if you can find something that suits you.

I like the idea of adapting the beads, or rather the prayer themes and intentions, according to the liturgical season.  For example, I have modified some Lenten antiphons to suit.

  • On the crucifix: Lord Jesus, you loved me and delivered yourself up for me. (cf Gal 2:20) with an impromptu word of thanks.
  • On the large bead: Our Father; or the Communion prayer the priest says during Mass; Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, by the will of the Father and work of the Holy Spirit, your death brought life to the world.  By your holy body and blood, free me from all my sins and from every evil.  Keep me faithful to your teaching and let me never be parted from you.
  • On the ten small beads:  Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. (cf The Jesus Prayer) or…
    • A pure heart create for me, O God. Put a steadfast spirit within me.   (cf Psalm 51:10) Or…
    • Jesus, you have the words of everlasting life.  (cf John 6:68) Or…
    • We are your people Lord, and your heritage (cf 1 Kings 8:51).  Or…
    • Renew us, Lord, by your grace.  Or simply…
    • Jesus!
    • On the medal:  Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel, pray for us

These are simply examples.  The possibilities are endless.  You could use your own favourite verses of Scripture, or other aspirations that you prefer.

It seems to me that using prayer beads throughout the day, while travelling, or even while falling asleep, is an effective way of focusing prayer for special intentions.  You might pray for the Church, your Community’s monthly intentions, or for your children, your family, for priests, for vocations, for sinners, for the dying, for the Holy Souls…and so on.

Give it some thought and you’ll find ways of fitting the practice into your life in ways that better suit you and your ways of praying.

Perhaps you could design scriptural prayers or aspirations for other liturgical seasons.  For example, at Easter, you might use the following or similar:

  • On the crucifix: The Lord has truly risen, Alleluia!
  • On the large bead: Our Father; or Risen Christ, you are the light of your people whom you have redeemed with your blood.
  • On the ten small beads:  Christ our life, save us. Or…
    • Lord Jesus, renew the whole of your creation.  Or…
    • Jesus, set our hearts on the things of heaven.  Or…
    • Lord, grant us the blessings of your resurrection.  Or…
    • Jesus, we seek your face for the sake of the Church and the world.  Or…
    • Renew us, Lord, by your grace.  Or simply…
    • Jesus!
    • On the medal:  Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel, pray for us

With Advent starting soon, why not create some Advent-themed aspirations?  You’ll get some great ideas from the Advent liturgy.  Perhaps something along these lines…

  • On the crucifix: Bring us to life Lord and set our hearts on the things of heaven
  • On the large bead: Our Father; or “It is full time now for us to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Come and help us cast off the works of darkness and put on the amour of light.” (cf Romans 13:11-12).
  • On the ten small beads: Come and stay with us, Lord, and renew us by your grace
  • On the medal: Mary, Mother of God, pray for us

Please don’t feel bound by my ideas.  The breviary is a treasury of brief prayers and seasonally-appropriate verses of Scripture for you to use as you think suitable.  And of course the beads can be used to pray our beautiful and traditional rosary mysteries.

The beads I chose have a lovely silky feel to them.  Called a “Tenner” (10 beads), it consists of 10mm fossil ‘Ave’ beads, a coffee agate ‘Pater’ bead, and an Ecce Lignum Crucis cross, with a bronze medal of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  I find it easy to use the ‘tenner’ beads unobtrusively and they’re especially easy to hold and use while driving, though I hope your focus while driving is on the road and on control of your car!  They don’t take up much room in my pocket and serve to remind me of my call to prayer whenever I put my hand in my pocket.  I find that, after a dozen or so ‘sets’ using the beads, the Jesus Prayer keeps popping into my heart quite naturally.  Of course, you can always use your regular rosary beads in this way too.

More on the Jesus Prayer:

 

About Les

I'm Les Walters, Immediate Past President in our OCDS Community from 17 July 2016 to August 2018. Now First Councillor - August 2018 till August 2021 and Secretary
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