The Anglican Rosary
Since the earliest of times, people have used pebbles or a string of knots or beads on a cord to keep track of prayers offered to God. Some form of a rosary or prayer beads can be found in use in just about every major religion in the world.
The Anglican prayer rosary is a form of prayer which combines contemplative prayer with many Christian symbols. Contemplative prayer is enriched by these symbols whose purpose is always to focus and concentrate attention, allowing the one who prays to move more swiftly into the Presence of God.
There is no set way to use the Anglican rosary, so people can develop prayers for use with the rosary that reflect their own spiritual journey. The rosary then becomes simply a tool to aid in prayer life. We include a pamphlet about the rosary with every purchase which has some suggestions for how to start using them, and then over time you can develop your own way of using your rosary.
Using a rosary or prayer beads becomes a way to deepen one’s prayer life by encouraging not only the mind but also the body to participate in prayer. The prayers keep the mind focused and the passing of beads through the fingers keeps the body engaged in prayer too.
The circle of the Anglican rosary symbolizes the wheel of time. As you say prayers, you move around the wheel of the rosary one bead at a time, representing the Christian's spiritual pilgrimage through time following Christ as Lord.
The typical layout of the Anglican rosary is a pattern of 33 beads. This rosary is commonly called an Anglican rosary, but it is also known as an Episcopalian rosary, the Protestant rosary, an Ecumenical rosary and the Christian rosary.
The rosary is made up of thirty-three beads divided into four groups of seven called weeks. Between each week is a single bead called a cruciform bead. The 33rd bead is the invitatory bead, a place to begin the prayer time. A cross completes the set of rosary beads.
The number seven is repeated four times in the rosary to create a conventional month. In the Judeo-Christian tradition the number seven represents spiritual perfection and completion. Prayer is the Christian's cry for completion.
The full number of beads in the rosary is thirty-three, the number of years Christ lived. If the rosary is prayed three times (signifying the Trinity) it equals ninety-nine beads, which in the Middle Eastern traditions is the complete number of the Divine Names. Adding the crucifix or cross at the beginning or the end, brings the total to one hundred which is the total of the Orthodox rosary and represents the fullness of creation.
Smaller rosaries are often called pocket rosaries or chaplets, and are usually made with a single set of week beads and a cruciform bead and/or invitatory bead. They may also have mementos attached which are significant to the owner.
These smaller rosaries can be either in the circle layout, or simply strung in a straight line. Small rosaries are convenient for shorter prayer sessions and slip easily into a pocket, bag, desk drawer or car glovebox so they are readily available. You can use a pocket rosary in the same way as a full-size rosary simply by going through the beads four times to total the four weeks of the standard rosary.
The purpose of the rosary is an aid to prayer and meditation and worn as personal adornment it is a gentle reminder of faith when the eye catches a glimpse of your beautiful beads of praise.