I’d forgotten how to pray.
Sure, I could still say a prayer before a meal, and even manage to say something that sounded half decent when gathering around to pray for someone. And when there was a crisis, I would tilt a thought upwards and call it prayer.
But when I would even try to think about having a “prayer time” I would give up.
So when at the leaders’ retreat we were talking about using a blog to share some core practices that we were finding life in, I didn’t think that I would be writing about prayer.
In the course of the retreat we were brainstorming on what kinds of things we could do with the church to encourage core practices. The idea of getting someone in to teach about the rosary was thrown into the ring of ideas. When I got home from this retreat, the idea of praying with the rosary was still in my head. Maybe this could help me get over this barricade between me and God. I certainly recognized that there was a problem and maybe it was time to address this.
So that night I searched online to see what the rosary was about and if it could help me. In the course of the search, I found a site on the Anglican rosary, and I resonated with a lot of what it said and how it was said.
A few days later I received my new rosary and a book about it. I confess that I didn’t research the Catholic rosary enough to know that much about it, but I really like the simplicity, the contemplative focus and the flexibility that I found with the Anglican one.
So for the last couple of months, I’m praying again and starting to feel more connected with my maker.
You may ask, “Why does praying with a rosary help?”
The book I got has various different ways of praying with the thirty-three beads of the rosary. Generally, each bead corresponds to a prayer. For the first couple of weeks I played around with some of the suggested prayers in the book and ended up with a liturgy for myself that is a blend of a few different ones, plus a few lines added from a song that has inspired me over the last while.
So now I have only to pick up the rosary and the prayer is laid out before me. There is a flow that I can just jump into. I don’t have to choose my words, but I can simply let my head and heart listen and echo. The first prayer is an affirmation of my relationship with God the Father, Son and Spirit. The next is a prayer inviting God to surround me and for me to be more aware of this. Then there is a pattern of praying for myself and others, ending with the Lord’s Prayer.
Praying with the beads helps me not to get lost in mental tangents; physically holding the beads and slowly, meditatively moving along them keeps me focused (and awake!) during the prayer.
Praying with the rosary may be for a season. It may be for my life. I’m not worried about how long it will “work.” I just know that it is giving me life now, and that’s good enough.
(You can find out more about the Anglican rosary, or order one if you’re interested, at fullcirclebeads.com )