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Prayer Beads

Christian and Islamic prayer beads; click for larger image non-traditional prayer beads; click for larger image Islamic and Buddhist prayer beads; click for larger image Karen's Universal Rosary; click for larger image More Universal Rosaries; click for larger image More Universal Rosaries; click for larger image Labyrinth Rosary; click for larger image Chakra Beads; click for larger image
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This page: links and bibliography

How to string your own prayer beads

My own arrangements, adaptations, and suggested prayers

NOTE: I do not sell beads myself. This site is purely informational. Please click here for information about how to string beads yourself. I have never ordered beads online so I can't recommend any vendors. The ads you see on this page are placed there by the web server.

Prayer beads are found in many religions all over the world. I was raised Methodist and Unitarian, neither of which has a prayer bead tradition. I first heard about prayer beads in Methodist Sunday school, in connection with the verse Matthew 6:7, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." I asked my teacher what that meant, and she explained about prayer beads. (It's notable that Judaism is one of the few religions that does not use prayer beads.) I confess that instead of feeling superior to those "pagans", I felt a fascination. In my teen years I heard about Islamic prayer beads having 33 beads, and made a strand for myself, but didn't know what to do with it. The fascination kept percolating, though.

As an adult, I began to read about prayer beads in various world religions. I didn't feel right about actually doing other people's rituals, but I wanted to know what other people were doing, so I could fashion my own meditations. Here are some links to some of the sites I found.

Disclaimer: I found these articles by doing google searches on prayer beads. I am not an expert by any means. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the articles in these links. I apologize to anyone who is offended by any of them. If anyone has more information or suggestions for better links, please e-mail me.

You can see examples of these beads from my collection in the photos below.

Click here to see much more, an extensive page with my own adaptations and prayers

Christian and Islamic prayer beads

From left to right above: Eastern Orthodox prayer rope, Anglican rosary,
Catholic rosary, worry beads from Turkey, prayer beads from Turkey

Islamic and Buddhist prayer beads

From left to right above: Two sets of prayer beads or worry beads
from Turkey, Two sets of wrist malas from Tibet, Mala from Tibet

non-traditional prayer beads

From left to right above: Karen's Universal Rosary, Eric Walker Wikstrom's
Unitarian Universalist prayer beads, Erynn Rowan Laurie's Circle of Stones,
Karen's Moon beads, Karen's Seasons of the year beads


  • Alexander, Scott Everyday Spiritual Practice; Simple Pathways for Enriching Your Life Skinner House Books, Boston MA, 1999
  • Bauman, Lynn The Anglican Rosary Praxis, Telephone, TX, 1998
  • Lovasik The Holy Rosary Catholic Book Publishing, NY 1980
  • Camille, Alice The Rosary; Mysteries of Joy, light, Sorrow and Glory ACTA Publications, Chicago, IL 2003
  • Elliott, Kristin and Seibt, Betty Holding your Prayers in Your Hands; Praying the Anglican Rosary Open Hands, Denton TX, 1999
  • Elliott, Kristin and Seibt, Betty Praying the Way of the Cross with the Anglican Rosary Open Hands, Denton TX, 1999
  • Evangelinos, Aris The Komboloi and its History Komboloi Museum Publications, Greece
  • Gribble, Richard The History and Devotion of the Rosary Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, Huntington, Indiana, 1992
  • Groeschel, Benedict The Rosary, Chain of Hope Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, 2003
  • Henry, Gray and Marriott, Susannah Beads of Faith Carroll and Brown Publishers, London, UK 2002
  • Hopcke, Robert Living the Mysteries; The Spiritual Power of the Rosary in the Lives of Contemporary People The Crossroad Publishing Company, NY 2003
  • John Paul II Apostolic Letter On the Most Holy Rosary
  • Laurie, Erynn A Circle of Stones; Journeys and Meditations for Modern Celts Eschaton Productions, Inc., Chicago, IL, 1995
  • Lovasik The Holy Rosary Catholic Book Publishing, NY 1980
  • Montfort, St. Louis The Secret of the Rosary Montfort Publications, Bay Shore, NY 1999
  • Mumford, John A Chakra & Kundalini Workbook Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN 2003
  • Pennington, Basil Praying by Hand; Rediscovering the Rosary as a Way of Prayer Harper, San Francisco, 1995
  • Peyton, Patrick Father Peyton's Rosary Prayer Book The Family Rosary Inc. Albany, NY 1996
  • Thornton, Francis This is the Rosary Hawthorn Books, Inc. NY, 1961
  • Vail, Anne and Houselander, Caryll Joy of the Rosary, A Way into Meditative Prayer Liguori Publications, Missouri
  • Vincent, Kristen A Bead and a Prayer: A Beginner's Guide to Protestant Prayer Beads Upper Room, 2013
  • Vincent, Kristen and Max Another Bead, Another Prayer: Devotion to Use with Protestant Prayer Beads Upper Room, 2015
  • Weber, Christin Circle of Mysteries; The Women's Rosary Book Yes International Publishers, Saint Paul, MN, 1997
  • Wiley, Eleanor and Shannon, Maggie A String and a Prayer; How to Make and Use Prayer Beads Red Wheel, Boston, 2002
  • Wikstrom, Erik Walker Simply Pray: A Modern Spiritual Practice to Deepen your Life Skinner House Books, Boston, 2005

copyright 2002 by Karen Deal Robinson

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