The Anglican Rosary
is similar to the Catholic rosary in that it's a set of prayer beads
, a "tactile prayer device," for Christian devotion
, but the similarities stop there.
The Anglican rosary has twenty-eight "week" beads, divided into four sections of seven beads each, with larger beads, called cruciform, that divide the weeks (if you set out the rosary in the shape of a circle, connecting the space between these beads forms a cross, hence the name). The first bead on the rosary is called the invitatory bead, which invites us into the circle of prayer, and the cross marks the beginning and ending of the time of devotion.
The prayers of the Anglican rosary are also less formal than its Roman counterpart. There are many different prayers used with this rosary, and many people make up their own. St. Patrick's Breastplate is one widely used prayer; I use the Prayer of Self-Dedication found in the Book of Common Prayer, dividing it up among the week beads, with the Lord's Prayer on the cruciform beads, and the Doxology on the invitatory bead.
Larry Dossey says, "In its simplest form, prayer is an attitude of the heart -- a matter of being, not doing." To an Anglican, it doesn't matter if you're praying with an Anglican rosary, a Catholic one, or simply praying every time you see a blue car drive by your house. The means to prayer is not as important as the praying itself, but having something tangible to move into contemplative prayer from the busyness of everyday life certainly helps.
With help from Holding Your Prayers In Your Hands by Kristin Elliott and Betty Kay Seibt