Praying with Beads during Lent

“Within our community we’ve been longing for a shared practice that is Hildegardian and organic, a dance with Spirit and traditional form resonating with our life up to now and fitting our new reality of being dispersed across many time zones. Perhaps praying with beads together in a Hildegardian way could enhance our healing container for this new time.  It’s a rhetorical question and we won’t know until we see if Sophia will bring this to birth in us.  We’ll have to live the question and see what happens.” 

“During Lent we are exploring this for ourselves, and invite anyone who finds themselves drawn here to consider trying the practice for yourself. We are sharing some thoughts here on our blog and on Instagram over the next 40 days.  It’s an invitation to a Lenten practice for anyone who is seeking a connection with the Divine. 

“Praying with beads is a daily practice that can go anywhere with you—you can carry your beads in your pocket, wear them on your wrist or keep them near you throughout the day. Praying with beads represents a deep spiritual practice that offers daily prayers that can fit into a busy life in the world. One round can be prayed at the same time each day or prayed in fits and starts if your day has many interruptions.

“In the days to come I’ll reflect and post more here on the blog. Thanks to each of you who is sharing this Lenten journey with me. And thanks to each of you praying daily for our country and world with all of our challenges and Earth, our beautiful home.  We are part of a larger circle yearning for healing and peace.

“May you know that you are Beloved.”


For this Lenten experiment, you may already have beads that are special to you. You can use beads from any tradition or make your own. 

​​As you choose your prayer beads, or gather your supplies, begin to think about what quotations, stories, memories, images, songs, poems, prayers you will choose to accompany you through Lent this year.

There are formal and ancient prayer practices in several religious traditions that include beads. 

In the Catholic tradition it is called praying the rosary. A rosary has 59 beads.

In the Buddhist tradition, the string of 108 prayer beads is called a mala. 

St Hildegard’s is part of the Episcopal or Anglican Tradition. Anglican prayer beads have 33 beads.

You may choose to make traditional prayer beads or something of your own creation. You could even use a bracelet that you already have. It comes down to the simple point that the beads are tangible objects that help us focus. Through touching the beads, seeing them, maybe even smelling them, we bring our focus on the here and now. As we pray or sing or recite a poem, while holding the beads, we increase the ways our whole body is awake and aware and open to the Divine Mystery.

The internet has many videos and links to books about making your own prayer beads.  Here are some DIY prayer bead resources: 

You don’t have to spend money, you can make your own beads from recycled paper:

Here’s a video on how to make Anglican prayer beads

Rev. Andrea Morrow at  St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wyandotte, Michigan, made this easy to understand video for her church’s Sunday School kids, but it works for us all. Her cat even makes an appearance! 

We hope you will send a picture of your beads and come back for more discussion of praying with beads during Lent.