A brief history of prayer beads across different religions

The word bead originates from the old Anglo-Saxon word “bede,” which refers to prayer. Beads were first used for religious purposes 29 centuries ago in Hinduism. Soon thereafter, Muslims and Buddhists started using prayer beads. Later, Christian rosaries became prevalent during the Middle Ages. Here, we take you through the various forms of prayer beads across three different religions.

Types of prayer beads
Here are a few important forms of prayer beads across diverse religions:

Christian prayer beads
These prayer beads are recognized in Lutheran, Episcopal, and Catholic churches. They are used for meditating, counting prayers, and chanting. Additionally, they can also be seen during devotionals. In certain instances, every bead represents a specific concept or event. These prayer beads can be made in the form of a necklace or bracelet, and many materials are utilized to make them.

Christian prayer beads are used in several religious practices, as they help them work more efficiently. With these beads, you can recite prayers better. A few denominations that use these prayer beads include Lutheran churches, the Episcopal Church of the United States, the Anglican Church, Protestant believers, and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The rosary is the most popularly known prayer bead. It is made with five sets of ten beads. The other types of Christian prayer beads are the Lutheran rosary, the Wreath of Christ, and the Anglican rosary.

Buddhist prayer beads
Also known as Tibetan prayer beads, these beads can be useful in many aspects of meditation. They are connected through a string and consist of 108 beads and one Guru bead. Each bead denotes a breath or chant, which you pay attention to as you inhale and exhale. Tibetan prayer beads are made of materials such as gemstones, wood, and seeds, among others. These beads are a representation of spiritual identity. At present, they are used in different techniques of meditation. Apart from traditional prayers, you can use them to achieve peace of mind and positive spiritual energy. These prayer beads can help reduce blood pressure and stress, as well as improve sleep.

Islamic prayer beads
In Islamic culture, prayer beads are referred to as “Subha” or “Misbaha.” The most common types have 99 beads and are segregated into three segments containing 33 beads each. The materials used to create these beads include plastic, pearls, and wood. Semi-precious gemstones, such as amber, agate, carnelian, and onyx are also used to make these prayer beads. These beads are common gifts for spiritual pilgrimages.

Tibetan prayer beads

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