Starting a new prayer practice is never easy. So when the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America created a Lutheran Rosary, they tied it to the season of Lent. Lent is traditionally a time to strengthen faith disciplines or start new ones. The Rosary was designed so that someone new to structured and repetitive prayer could ease into it. One prayer could be said on Ash Wednesday, and then another prayer added each day. By the end of the season, one would be praying the entire Rosary.
The Lenten Rosary could be prayed with or without beads, using a calendar to write down prayer intentions for each day if one wasn’t able to make their own set of Lutheran Rosary beads.
- Two sizes of beads are needed for this rosary.
- The rosary begins with a cross, then three small beads grouped together.
- After the juncture, four small beads are strung.
- The other six groups are organized into “weeks” of one large bead and six small beads.
- No specific colors are prescribed for the beads, but it may be helpful to use different colors for the weekday beads and Sunday beads, and another color (like black) for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Resurrection of Our Lord may be a bead larger than any other bead, and white or lighter in color than any other.
The schema for the Lenten Lutheran Rosary first appeared on the ELCA website in 2003. The large Sunday beads and some of the small beads have prayer intentions assigned to them, while any prayers or petitions may be said on the rest of the weekday beads.
Suggestions for Weekday Petitions
- Peace in the world and in our hearts
- People with specific needs
- The lonely, depressed, mentally ill
- The physically ill, the dying
- The homeless, the unemployed
- Those burdened by cares of others
- People grieving the loss of a loved one
- Someone in the news who needs help
- Someone who has hurt you
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.
2. First Bead
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen. (Apostles’ Creed)
3. Second Bead
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen. (Lord’s Prayer)
4. Third Bead
(Morning): I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me through the night from all harm and danger. I ask that you would also protect me today from sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please you. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.
(Evening): I give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously protected me today. I ask you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously to protect me tonight. Into your hands I commend myself: my body, my soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel be with me, so that the wicked foe may have no power over me. Amen.
(Martin Luther’s Morning and Evening Prayer)
5. Ash Wednesday
Pray for one’s own sinfulness, asking for forgiveness and renewal of one’s heart.
6. First Sunday in Lent
Give thanks for God’s guidance through the wilderness of this world.
7. Second Sunday in Lent
Give thanks for the gift of faith for one’s self and for others.
8. Third Sunday in Lent
Give thanks for the Word of God as printed and proclaimed.
9. Fourth Sunday in Lent
Give thanks for God’s healing and forgiveness.
10. Fifth Sunday in Lent
Give thanks for God’s love and for all who are able to share that love.
11. Sunday of the Passion
Give thanks for God’s greatest gift of all; the life, death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
12. Maundy Thursday
Pray for the ability to follow Christ’s command to love others as He loved us.
13. Good Friday
Pray for the ability to forgive those who crucify others daily – in little ways or in large.
14. Holy Saturday
Pray for the help of God, that we may have good intentions and be able to carry them out, even as his Son fulfilled the punishments of the Law on our behalf.
15. Resurrection of Our Lord
Rejoice in the fulfillment of the New Covenant as Christ rose from the dead, and commit oneself to new life in his service.
Comments? Suggestions? Corrections? Contact me.
Original schema published at “A ‘Lutheran Rosary’ for Lent” on the ELCA website (archived from original). Liturgical texts are as they are translated in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, © 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, admin. Augsburg Fortress.