Prayer beads

I was reminded of the following quote by Mohandas Ghandi, during an online discussion of the use of prayer beads–a discussion prompted by someone who wasn’t Catholic but decided to use a rosary after reading John Edward’s Practical Praying: Using The Rosary To Enhance Your Life. Not only can one conversation lead to another, one person’s practice can lead to another’s. The use of prayer beads spans many religious faiths.

I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian. ~~Mahatma Ghandi (Young India: January 19, 1928)

Prayer beads are a special interest of mine—though I don’t own any at the moment—since reading A String and a Prayer in Spirituality & Health magazine a couple of years ago. Here’s a little more on prayer beads.

Do any readers here use prayer beads? I’d love to have you share your thoughts.

03-14-2008 note: If you’re interested in reading more about prayer beads, see my later article, Prayer beads II.

9 comments on “Prayer beads

  1. Turtleheart says:

    I have become interested in using prayer beads recently. I would like to create my own strands to go with some of the Celtic prayers I like. I have been gathering ideas and looking at beads for the last few weeks.

    I think using prayers beads would be beneficial to my spirituality. I would like to see if it aids me in meditation.

  2. Barbara says:


    I should think prayer beads could help a lot with meditation, aiding in focus and centering.

    I’ve been planning to make or buy them, for all the traditional reasons—prayer and mantras. I’ve also thought they would be a good tool to use for affirmations—a way to center myself on the repetitions. I’m partial to the scent of sandalwood, so I’ve been thinking about incorporating sandalwood beads.

  3. wishy-helen says:

    I call my beads a ‘Mala’ and I use them to help me do my yoga breathing. I use the beads to count eithr my breath or my mantra if I am repeating it. My Mala necklace is made of 108 beads which is an auspicious number in all the yoga texts. I also have a few mala bracelets that I love to wear, they seem to calm me as they remind me of my mantra and my breath. Great topic Barbara! This is a very nice blog! 🙂

  4. Montana Faery says:

    I just stumbled upon your site and found this article about prayer beads. How ironic–I just made myself a strand over the Memorial weekend–my mother had a book about them and my female relatives and I all made them. I keep mine in a little pouch in my purse. Whenever I need to recenter myself or to remind myself whatever it is that is my purpose, I take them, hold them, feel the cool beads in my palms, and remember to breathe. This particular strand has a wedding charm on it, as I am getting married in 3 months (EEEEK!!) and holding the beads, or even just seeing pouch they are in, helps me remember why it is I am getting married–for the marriage not the wedding.
    So thank you for the insight and I am glad to hear people are taking up this powerful, meditative trend!

  5. Barbara says:

    Montana Faery, best wishes on your marriage. That’s a big step. Prayer beads seem like a great way to help stay centered through the weeks ahead.

  6. Ruth Ellen says:

    I use and create prayer beads. I find them a wonderful addition to meditation and stress relief. Right now, I find myself using them a good deal for affirmations, repeating positive phrases around that circle, for wellness and emotional health.

    What a wonderful blog you have! Thanks for sharing.


  7. Paul says:

    I have to agree that the use of prayer beads or even a rosary, can really help to focus when meditating.

  8. Wicca says:

    Thank you for the enlightening article. I personally do not use beads but I have friends practicing Wicca, who use beads for their affirmations and healing work, e.g. when a specific phrase needs to be repeated certain times, it is very convenient to have a set of beads. It helps concentration.
    I must add that I agree with the quote by Ghandi – there should be more tolerance among the religions.

  9. Tom says:

    I used to be Catholic, and I use an old rosary for praying my “Diana Prayer” (Strega-influenced version of the “Jesus Prayer”). It is very helpful.