On a recent trip to York Minister Cathedral, I picked up a small rosary. I had not intended to buy one nor had I had any thought prior to that visit about praying the rosary, but lately I have been finding my prayer life a struggle. I start off fairly well, but within minutes my mind is drifting and thinking of other things. I bring my focus back on praying, but it’s not long until once again my mind is off on its own merry way. If my mind is not dancing to its own tune, then I find that I am praying one minute and the next the sunlight is peeking through the curtains and it is morning! If you have struggled with the same issues then I do not need to tell you how frustrating it is. I feel guilty that after all Jesus has done for me, I cannot come before Him and be still. I cannot focus long enough to lay myself at the foot of the cross and commune with my Saviour.
Back to the Cathedral … I stood in the gift shop on the way out of the Cathedral and held a small rosary in my hand, I fondled the beads, allowed my fingers to pass from one bead to the next and pondered on the peace that comes from being in such a magnificent place of Christian worship. I wondered about the rosary, about each prayer bead and pondered if perhaps physically holding and moving my fingers over such an aid would be of help. We are high church Anglicans, but not quite Anglo-Catholic so the rosary is not part of my everyday life. On impulse I walked quickly over to the counter before I changed my mind and made my purchase.
Since then, each time I come before the Lord in extended prayer, I pick up my rosary and move my fingers from each bead as I pray for each person, each worry, each praise that I offer up to God. Of course I am not by any means using the rosary as it ‘should’ be used, but that was never the intention. The goal was to be able to remain focused on my Lord and Saviour. And it’s worked! Having that physical object in my hand has helped me to remain focused, to keep my thoughts drifting off.
I have since done a bit of research and found that the rosary is not exclusively a ‘Catholic’ thing. The Anglican Rosary is used quite commonly by – well Anglicans – and Christians from other denominations.
The Anglican Rosary is a combination of the Catholic Rosary and the Jewish Prayer Rope. It is comprised of 33 beads (the traditional number of Jesus’ life). There is one invitatory bead followed by 7 beads each (week beads) with a single bead (called the cruciform) in between each set of week beads. There are no set prayers for the Anglican Rosary, it’s your choice what you pray. Of course the Book of Common Prayer is full of choices and inspiration if you cannot find the words – which happens doesn’t it? There’s a great little article here which might give you more clarity if you are interested and incorporating this tool into your own prayer life.
I have found my small rosary to be such a useful aid. It’s easy to be surrounded by peace and tranquillity inside a church and feel your soul soar towards your Lord and Saviour, but when you are surrounded by the busyness of everyday life, pressures and routines, it can be a bit more difficult. At least that is true for me. My Book of Common Prayer and my unassuming (you get such pretty ones out there!) rosary has truly helped me to focus my prayer life more, and for that I am truly grateful.
My thanks to Shirley, and please be sure to visit her blog, which is a treasury of gorgeous pictures, yummy recipes, and encouraging words!