Many Catholics are familiar with the prayer of the rosary, but not as many know why we use rosary beads.
It is said that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, appeared to Saint Dominic and gave him a rosary. The tradition of praying the rosary has been alive ever since (source). For more history on why we use beads, check out this blog that goes more in-depth: The History of Praying the Rosary - Where did the Rosary beads come from?.
A main reason we use beads to pray is to help us count our prayers. Each decade contains 10 Hail Marys, and after a while, the repetition of the prayers can make it hard to remember how many you have prayed already.
Because the rosary is a meditative prayer, it is helpful to have beads that tell us where we are at in the prayer. Beads help us to enter deeper without having to worry about what prayer is next, how many Hail Marys we have prayed, or if we forgot a decade.
The Rosary Card White
What prayers do the rosary beads represent?
There are many different prayers that can be prayed on the rosary beads, but the traditional rosary consists of a few basic prayers many Catholics already know.
The different beads tell us which prayer to say.
1st section of beads:
- The Crucifix is the Apostle’s Creed.
- The first bead is the Our Father. Notice the space between the first Our Father beads and the following Hail Mary beads throughout the rosary.
- The next three beads are Hail Marys.
- In the space between the Hail Mary beads and the Our Father beads is when we pray the Glory Be and Fatima prayer.
- Each decade starts with the single bead separated from the line of ten beads, and on it we pray the Our Father.
- The ten beads are all Hail Marys.
- At the end of each decade, the Glory Be and Fatima prayer are prayed.
- At the end of the Rosary linking the first section of beads with the five decades, there is often a medal of Our Lady or another image. You can pray the Hail Holy Queen on this medal.
- The concluding Rosary Prayer is prayed after the Hail Holy Queen, which can also be said on the medal.
For step-by-step instructions on how to pray the Rosary, check out this detailed guide.
Do you have to pray a rosary on beads?
Using rosary beads is one of the more common ways to pray this prayer to Our Lady, but it’s not the only way to pray it!
God gave us 10 fingers- the perfect number for the 10 Hail Marys in each decade.
Another convenient, on-the-go way to pray the Rosary while still keeping track of your prayers is through the Rosary card.
The rosary is a prayer meant to help us go deeper into the mysteries of the life of Christ and His family. A beauty of this prayer is that whether we have our own beads to pray on or not, this prayer can be said anytime, anywhere!