A Protestant Rosary

I wear a cross around my neck. Its fosters God-consciousness and Christ-sensitivity through my day. Over time, I’ve embedded a few knots and few beads in the lanyard—the cord upon which the cross hangs. In formal and not so formal times, the knots and beads guide me in prayer—a makeshift rosary.

Knots on the cord call me to pray my version of the “Hail Mary”—composed a few years ago when I really did take the rosary and its mysteries on in my prayer life. (Protestant as I am, though, I was not quite comfortable with the “Hail Mary” and some of the theology upon which it hangs. “Why pray to Mary when you can go straight to the Son and the Father and the Spirit?” ran my thinking.) And so, I came up with my own prayer for “counting the beads”—a “Prayer to the Blessed Trinity”:

Blessed and Mysterious Trinity—
Father, Son and Holy Spirit—
Source of all Goodness, Life and Truth,
Worthy art Thou and Thou alone
to receive all honor, glory and power.
Create in me a clean heart
and renew a right Spirit within me,
now and at the hour of my death. Amen.

Beads in the lanyard call me to pray a prayer of healing which I formulated a few years ago at a Heal­ing and Wholeness Conference:

Lord Jesus Christ,
enter into _______,
a precious child [or creation] of yours
and heal that which is broken
in me [or him or her or it]. Amen.

Sometimes I pray the prayer with me in mind. Some­times I pray it with any number of specific individuals in mind… Sometimes I am mindful of Kathy and each of my children… or my brothers and sister… Sometimes I pray it with Strawbridge in mind or the Church in general. Sometimes I pray it with all creation in mind and heart. Broken and fallen are we all—physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually. All of us are in need of His restoring and redeeming touch.

When I get to the cross (i.e., knots and beads are equally and symmetrically arranged around the cen­tral cross), I stop to savor the Lord’s Prayer. I pause with each line and envision that petition. (Another post in the days ahead will convey my experience of that prayer as a walk “around the cross”… More to come!) Sometimes I say “Our Father” and sometimes I personalize it, saying “My Father in Heaven…”

But ours is more than brokenness — something which invites me to engage the beads on the “other side” of the cross… with another prayer for those I prayed for on the “front side” of the cross:

Lord Jesus Christ,
enter into __________,
a precious child [or creation] of yours
and strengthen all that is good, right, and true
in him/her/it. Amen.

Working my way through the knots and beads is not the fullness of my prayer life. Sometimes I do allow it to make its way into morning or evening prayer time. Mostly, though, I find it becoming a part of the hours in between: stuck at a traffic light or in traffic, knots and beads take me home; waiting for a meeting, knots and beads remind me of who I am and whose I am;…

Sometimes I make it through the rounds once, sometimes a couple of times, sometimes half way. Ever there is the need to make the process meaning­ful—forbidding that it simply become a mechanical and mindless/heartless rifling through the circuit.

No, I don’t have to take it off from around my neck as I pray: the knots and beads can be felt through my shirt as my fingers trace their way through my “Protestant Rosary.”

Am I suggesting that you need to take up this dis­cipline? Of course not! But I do want to nag you with the question: “what are you doing to make prayer and Christ a meaningful and regular part of the rhythm of your day?” For me, tracing the knots and the beads is one way of keeping Christ before me… and keeping me before Christ.

Forgive the repetition, Friends, but I am con­vinced it is true: as breathing to the physical body, so prayer to our spiritual vitality. For the Christian, prayer is not one part of life among many. Prayer is life!

With You, in the Quest for a Daily Rhythm in Prayer and Spiritual Breathing!

This entry was posted in dancing with God/Jesus, Spiritual Devotion/Formation. Bookmark the permalink.

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