Anglican prayer beads: A Lenten cycle

Revised and updated Lent 2019. A previous version used “Week” to describe the Cruciform beads, and divided those weeks into “Days” for the smaller 28 beads – which is how I was taught the terminology. However, having discovered that this can be confusing to those who learned the (more traditional?) terms of Cruciform and Weeks, I have updated my language to conform. Let us be united in prayer!

Do you use prayer beads, or an Anglican rosary? Those strings of 28 beads divided into four weeks of seven beads, with a pause of a different shape or colour in between? Entering and exiting through the cross and the invitatory bead? Here’s what I mean:

A couple of weeks ago, during our Lenten sabbath time, some parishioners and I spent some time praying with our beads, and making some new strings to take away and pray/play with or to give away.

Usually, to pray the Anglican rosary, one enters through the cross, says an invitatory prayer or sentence at, well, the invitatory bead, then proceeds into the circle, saying three times the same combination of prayers on the 28 beads, punctuated by the same four prayers at the four points of the circle (I know that’s geometrically impossible, but it sort of makes sense…)

For Advent, I put together a cycle of three rosaries, but it was a little too long for our sabbath hour, saying all three thrice, so this time, for Lent, especially as we wanted to have time for our arts and crafts session, too, I divided the rosary into three rounds and we said the whole cycle in one go.

Here is a Lenten cycle you may like to use with your own Anglican rosary or prayer beads. The words all come from either the Book of Common Prayer or the Stations of the Cross in the Book of Occasional Services:

A Lenten prayer cycle

 Cross:    Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.

Invitatory:   God’s mercy endures for ever.


Cruciform: Your merciful promise is beyond all measure.

Weeks:   You have promised forgiveness to sinners.


Cruciform:   You, O Lord, are the God of those who repent.

Weeks:   Forgive me, Lord, forgive me.


 Cruciform:   Show us the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.

Weeks:   Restore us, O Lord God of hosts.

Closing invitatory:   The Lord’s Prayer

Cross:   Let us bless the Lord: Thanks be to God.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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2 Responses to Anglican prayer beads: A Lenten cycle

  1. Rhiannon says:

    My Anglican Rosary Prayers based on 2003 BCP Reformed Episcopal-Holy Communion

    1st bead – Summary of the Law
    2nd bead – Collect: O Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern both our hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that, through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
    Medal – Nicene Creed
    Weeks – Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner – and if any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He is the propitiation for our sins.
    Cruciform – Trisagion
    2nd bead – Our Father
    1st bead – PRAYER OF OBLATION: O Lord and heavenly Father; we thy humble servants earnestly desire thy fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving; most humbly beseeching thee to grant, that by the merits and death of thy Son Jesus Christ, and through faith in his blood, we and all thy whole Church may obtain remission of our sins, and all other benefits of his passion. And here we offer and present unto thee, O Lord, ourselves, our souls, and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice unto thee; humbly beseeching thee, that we, and all partakers of the Holy Communion, may be filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, and be made one body with him, that he may dwell in us and we in him. And although we are unworthy through our manifold sins, of offer unto thee any sacrifice yet we beseech thee to accept those our bounden duty and service; not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offences, through Jesus Christ our Lord; by whom, and with whom, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, all honour and glory be unto thee, O Father Almighty, world without end. Amen.
    1st bead – GLORIA IN EXCELSIS
    Cross – Blessing: The peace of God, which passeth all understanding keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you and remain with you always. Amen.
    Cruciform meditations: Sins or Mysteries

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