Lutheran Rosary?


About the Lutheran Rosary

Since when do Lutherans have prayer beads?

The Lutheran Rosary was published on the ELCA website as a prayer tool during the season of Lent. The bead set has one bead for each day during lent, and a large bead that marks each Sunday of Lent.

In 2005, John Longworth, a seminarian at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP), and his wife, Sara Longworth developed a set of prayers to use with the Lutheran Rosary during the rest of the year. The series of prayers focus on the main themes of the Small Catechism. John introduced this concept to his fellow classmates during a Christian Education course with great interest. Eventually seminarians and local Lutherans were requesting sets of pre-made beads and the booklet for teaching and personal prayer purposes.

**Didn’t the Reformation get rid of all the relics and penitential objects? **

Yes. However, prayer beads are not either of these things. There is nothing particularly blessed or holy about these beads. They are a material aid to praying, nothing more and nothing less. The same quality of prayer can be achieved by praying out of the Small Catechism itself, or in reciting prayers alone. However, just as the Reformers retained crucifixes, stained glass, altars, fonts and the sacramental elements to involve the senses in worship, the beads provide a way to involve the physical body in the act of praying. It is the work of Christ, the graciousness of God and our trust in God’s promises that brings us to eternal life, not the objects. Even so, everyday people like pastors, teachers and parents and everyday things, like water, bread and wine, can be a means of grace to build our trust in Jesus Christ.

Ok, so why the Small Catechism?

As is noted above, the structure for the beads was intended as a devotional for Lent. The seven part structure and the seven large beads correspond to days of Lent and Sundays in Lent. The Small Catechism is built around seven sections, the Commandments, Creed, Lord’s Prayer, Baptism, Confession, Holy Communion and Daily Prayer. The beads offered a convenient structure to meditate on these themes year round. Secondly, the catechism isn’t just for confirmands, new members and parents of the newly baptized. It was meant as a teaching tool for all the members of Christian families. Martin Luther advised that members of a household re-read the catechism until they knew it by heart and could then move into the Large Catechism to further their learning. Finally, the core of Christian experience is the life of the church, the place where the gospel is proclaimed and the sacraments administered. The Small Catechism is grounded in the language and acts of community worship that bind us together as Brothers and Sisters



Whether prayed using prayer beads or not (one would have to make one’s own*), the idea of this “Lutheran Rosary” for Lent is to help people ease into the spiritual discipline of prayer. We do suggest making a calendar to keep track of individual prayers for each day. People who are not in the habit of daily prayer may want to start with just one “daily prayer” on Ash Wednesday, then expand by one each succeeding day; others may prefer to pray the whole “rosary” every day during the season.



Following Martin Luther’s advice, in the morning, when you rise, make the sign of the cross and say, "God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit watch over me. Amen.

1st bead

The Apostle’s Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again 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.

2nd bead

The Lord’s Prayer:

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.

3rd bead

Luther’s Morning or Evening Prayer

I give thanks to you, my heavenly Father through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you that you would also protect me today from every sin and all evil, so that my life and actions may please you completely. For 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.

I give thanks to you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have graciously protected me today, and I ask you to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously to protect me tonight. For 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.

*Around the circle, then, are beads for the days of Lent plus the Sundays of Lent (a little larger, a different color to make them stand out), for, of course, the Sundays are all celebrated as “little Easters” and thus are not counted among the 40 days of Lent. First four Lent beads, then one Sunday, then the rest in groups of six and one. The last bead is Easter and may be larger and lighter in color than all.

Ash Wednesday:

Pray for one’s own sinfulness, asking for forgiveness and renewal of one’s heart.

1st Sunday:

Give thanks for God’s guidance through the wilderness of this world.

2nd Sunday:

Give thanks for the gift of faith for one’s self and for others.

3rd Sunday:

Give thanks for the Word of God as printed and proclaimed.

4th Sunday:

Give thanks for God’s healing and forgiveness.

5th Sunday:

Give thanks for God’s love and for all who are able to share that love.

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.

Maundy Thursday:

Pray for the ability to follow Christ’s command to love others as He loved us.

Good Friday:

Pray for the ability to forgive those who crucify others daily – in little ways or in large.

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.

The 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.



Peace in the world and in our hearts
People you know with specific needs
The lonely, depressed, those with mental illnesses
The physically ill or handicapped, the dying
The homeless, those who have no employment
Those burdened with the cares of others
People who are grieving the loss of someone they loved
Someone you heard about in the news who needs help
Someone who has hurt you


This doesn’t really sound like a bad idea for Catholics either. I don’t mean saying this instead of the Catholic Rosary, but maybe we could say this one too. More prayer is definitely always a good thing.:slight_smile:


We have 2000 years worth of our own prayers. Why say the prayers of the Lutherans?


Yep. And may I add that we have enough Lutheran influence we dont need no more. Thank you and good night.

Let the bashing of me begin!!!:stuck_out_tongue:

Sorry- but before you try it- You dont know what my parish looks like smells like or tastes like so dont even try to judge me or say I am wrong.

My parish screams Lutheran all over the place. Not that I recall much from that part of my spiritual darkness, but I think that is the Lord helping me to block it out.


Your lucky- my parish screams liberal protestant.


For what it is worth, there are plenty of Lutherans who pray the Rosary (using all the prayers and recalling all the mysteries) exactly as it is done in the Roman Catholic Church. We see no need for a “Lutheran Rosary” or an “Anglican Rosary” (yes, there is one). The Roman Catholic one is just fine, thank you very much. :smiley:


That’s awesome! :clapping: :bounce: But when I suggested Lutheran prayers for Catholics, I wasn’t trying to say Catholic prayers are at all inadequate. There are some Protestant prayers I like. For instance, I like Protestant grace before meals better than Catholic, since it’s usually a spontaneous personal prayer rather than something in a prayer book. I like all different kinds of prayer. I have quite a few Catholic prayer books, I say the Rosary (the Catholic one), but I also like Lectio Divino meditation on the Scriptures which is more unstructured. Of course, when I pray before the Blessed Sacrament, that’s always an unstructured prayer too, because I never know how Jesus is going to speak to me or how I’ll answer Him until I’m there.


LOL. Caesar, I thought you had a historical Church or something? Or FSSP?

Mine has a metal wall hanging of Mary that is so small you need a microscope to see her, and on the wrong side of the Church and …I dont want to tell you the rest.


I just thought it interesting that they even apply the word “Rosary” to it at all.


I go to the Tridentine Mass once a month when the FSSP priest comes to my city (and we are praying that this will soon change to every week). The rest of the time I’m at the Cathedral, which is really quite beautiful in terms of art and architecture but thats where the beauty ends. The hymns, the homilies, the “mini-homilies”, people’s attitudes, the priests, all have the feel of liberal protestantism.


Good point. Why dont they just admit they were WRONG about it all and just get the real thing already? Whats the hold up?




Having been raised in the *elca, *catachized, sang in choir, blah, blah, I NEVER in my life heard of any such thing as a “lutheran rosary” or ANY rosary at all. That was a “Catholic thing”.

I agree with Damascus. Instead of culling our Sacramentals and prayers for their far from Catholic church, why not just admit that Luther was a heretic, turn back around and jump that Tiber?!!

If one wants to ACT Catholic, then BE Catholic.


Gotta disagree with you there. There are things that the Catholic Church does right and things that the Protestant Churches do right. If a particular custom or practice is not dogmatically prohibited by your particular Church, then you should be open to appropriating that custom or practice, if it is good, for your own Church or worship. If Protestant, we should get beyond rejecting something “just because its Catholic” and, conversely, if we are Catholic we should not reject something “just because it is Protestant.” Again, I am not talking about papering over theological matters where we disagree but, rather, being open to different customs that can be useful for worship or other reasons in and of themselves. Examples might be the rosary, the crucifix, certain hymns, Sunday School, etc.


Lutherans didn’t get the rosary from across the Tiber. At the time the reformation, the “Lutheran rosary” was simply “the rosary” and was the common form used by Christians in churches at the time. After the reformation the Roman Catholics added more to it, such as the last line of the Hail Mary “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.” in 1568.


All of this “The rosary is Catholic and thats that” kind of bickering is just plain despicable. Every single Catholic church I have ever been in displays an Advent wreath during the season of Advent. Many Catholics even believe that the wreath is Catholic but truthfully it is of Lutheran origin. You certainly don’t hear Lutherans making a big deal out of Catholics using their Lutheran" Advent wreath. I must agree when the member said that some things Catholics do right and some other things Protestants do right.


I don’t know about advent wreaths, but I do know that Lutherans were the first to use Christmas trees.


Exactly. Just as C.S. Lewis was Anglican (not Catholic) and the National Cathedral is an Anglican church (not Catholic) and the first church here in the U.S. was the Anglican church and not the Catholic church hence George Washington. Not trying to insult Catholics here, I am just merely pointing out that many folks mistake some people and things in history as Catholic when actually they were not.


I’ve seen things that say it’s a “Lutheran tradition”…

I’ve seen things that say it’s a medieval thing…

And others that say it is a pre-Christian thing…

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