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Episcopal Prayer Beads

People have always had a means of keeping track of prayers, with pebbles, knotted cord or beads.  Almost every major religion in the world uses some type of prayer beads.  Episcopal or Anglican prayer beads are relatively new having been first used in the 1980’s when the Rev. Lynn Bauman designed and created the thirty-three bead design. 

The use of prayer beads helps to bring us into contemplative prayer so that we think about being in the presence of God.  Touching each successive bead aids in keeping our mind from wandering, and leads us more readily into stillness.

There are many sources for prayer beads that can be found on the internet.  Trinity Episcopal Church, Elmira will hold classes for interested persons to learn how to make the beads or will make beads to order.  See the end of the article for links to internet resources and information about Trinity Prayer Bead "funshops".

Prayer Beads are designed using a cross, five larger beads (one Invitatory and four Cruciform) beads and twenty-eight smaller beads called weeks, bringing the total number of beads to thirty-three, the age of Jesus when he left his earthly life.  The smaller beads are divided into four, often separated by small spacer beads.  When you look at the beads, the four Cruciform beads form a Cross.


The beads are Prayer Beads only if they are prayed with. There are many suggested prayers or you can decide to use what you like. To pray with the beads, begin by holding the Cross and saying the prayer you have assigned to it. Next go to the Invitatory bead and say the prayer you have assigned to it.  Enter the circle, praying at the cruciform bead, moving left and praying at each set of seven beads and the Cruciform bead.  You may want to prayaround the circle three times, signifying the Trinity.  Do this in an unhurried way so that your mind can be at rest and your heart quiet.  When you have finished the circle, go to the Invitatory bead and the Cross.

Before you begin using the beads, decide what prayers you will use.  Through regular use, you will memorize the prayers and know which ones go with the different beads. It is helpful to have a period of silence before and after praying, to settle your mind before and for contemplation after.

If you are interested in attending a “funshop” to make your own beads or if you wish to have a set made for you, you may contact the Parish Office at 607-732-3241.

Handmade prayer Beads sets are priced at $20 each
and vary in colors and beads.

Praying the Anglican Rosary  from King of Peace Church, Kingland, Ga

The Episcopal Rosary for Children




Trinity Episcopal Church • 304 North Main Street • Elmira, NY, 14901
Phone: 607-732-3241 • Fax: 607-732-3894