Lutheran Rosaries

It started when the olive wood beads I’d ordered from Bethlehem back in October finally arrived (they’d been delayed, then sent back, then resent again). I’ve wanted to make my own prayer beads since before I busted my other two sets. I decided that bigger wooden beads combined with a strong, wound twine would lessen the chances that this set of prayer beads would break. Plus, the fact that the beads came from Bethlehem, the town in which Christ Jesus was born, meant that the prayer beads would be extra special to me and remind me of my visit there.

While I waited for my beads to ship, I stumbled, almost by accident, on an old idea I’d seen before: the Lutheran Rosaries. Two of these were experiments in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at the turn of the century, and one was a popular set of prayer beads from Sweden in the 1980s.

Unfortunately, while the Swedish beads remain popular, the other two Rosaries had all but disappeared. Instructions for the ELCA Lent set could no longer be found on the church’s website, and the website for the Longworth set had long ago expired, and then taken over. The magic of the Internet preserved archived copies of these websites, and I found myself reading through the two Rosaries with renewed interest.

I didn’t set out to make any Lutheran rosaries with my beads. I made the Anglican Prayer Beads I’d planned on, but when I counted the beads I had left over, I realized I had enough to make a Lutheran set too! I researched their origins and contacted the Reverend John Longworth to ask about the set he created, and he graciously sent me some updated schemata and allowed me to share them. Soon, I had my own set of Lutheran Prayer Beads put together. I’ve been using them alongside my Anglican Prayer Beads at different times, and I’ve come to love them!

I lament that these Rosaries never caught on, and that the information about them faded from the public eye. To that end, I put up a page for the Lutheran Rosaries that includes their histories, diagrams, and the full schema for each.

If you are looking for a new prayer practice, and a specifically Lutheran adaptation of one, I encourage you to check them out!


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