Muslims use them to repeat the names of Allah. Buddhists and Hindus use them as a meditative tool. Roman Catholics use them to "pray the rosary." Some Protestants are joining the other faithful who use prayer beads as a tool of devotion.
Daniel Di Mauro, a Lutheran from Reston, Va., has promoted ecumenical prayers for use with a traditional 59-bead rosary at www.ecumenicalrosary.org since 1999. A Catholic couples' prayer group introduced Di Mauro (whose wife is Catholic) to the rosary.
"The rosary is really something special," Di Mauro told Religion News Service. "It allows people to spend more time in prayer and meditate on what Jesus has done for us." In Catholic tradition, users repeat "Hail Mary, full of grace ..." as part of rosary prayers. Di Mauro suggests Protestants might use: "Oh, my Lord, I know that you are always with me; help me to obey your commandments and lead me to share my faith with others, so that they may know you and love you."
The Anglican rosary, a string of 33 beads (one for each year in the life of Christ), has four sections of seven beads to reflect the seasons of the church year. St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church in Oakwood, Ga., offers sample mix-and-match prayers for those using a 33-bead rosary at www.saintgabriels.org/rosary.html.
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