The Gratitude Rosary is an ecumenical prayer form that uses an ordinary rosary as prayer beads for counting your blessings. Prayer beads have been used by many faiths throughout history as a reminder to pray, and as a reminder of things to pray about. The Gratitude Rosary can be used by any Christian, since the prayers are not specific to a particular denomination. In other words, the rosary is not just for Catholics any more!
The rosary is divided into five decades, or segments of ten beads. When praying the Gratitude Rosary, each decade represents one of the five “homes,” the five areas of life. The object is to use the ten beads in each decade to give thanks for ten things that relate to the home in question. The ten things you give thanks for can change every time you pray, or they can be the same ten things each time. With each of the ten beads within a decade, think of one thing you are thankful for, say a short prayer of thanksgiving to God, and dedicate it to God.
The beads that separate the decades can represent any prayer or Scripture reading that is meaningful to you, but I have suggested a few below to get you started.
Suggested method for praying the Gratitude Rosary:
Begin at the cross, meditating on James 4:8, Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you…
At the first bead from the cross, repeat the Jesus prayer as many times as needed to make sure that your prayer is Christ-centered: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner…
At the next three beads, express your thanks to God for the past, your desire to follow and be close to God in the present, and your trust in God for the future.
At the last bead before the circle, meditate on Psalm 46, Be still and know that I am God…
The first decade represents the home for your hands. With each bead, give thanks for some aspect of your job. If you are between jobs, be thankful for the ways God provides. Use each of the ten beads to give thanks for one thing, so that you count ten blessings related to the home for your hands. After each bead, dedicate whatever you have given thanks for to God. Entrust your future and the future of this particular blessing to God. Say something like, Lord I thank you for _____;I dedicate it, and entrust it to you, please give me your peace.
At the bead between decades, repeat the words of John the baptist in John 3:30, as many times as necessary to keep your prayer Christ-centered: He must increase, but I must decrease…
Repeat the above steps for each of the five decades, as they each represent one of the five homes. The second decade represents the home for your body; with each bead, give thanks for some aspect of your home – your house or apartment. The third decade represents the home for your mind; with each bead, give thanks for your hobbies, passions or extra-curricular activities – the things you do to have a creative outlet. The fourth decade represents the home for your heart; with each bead, give thanks for your relationships and friendships. The fifth and final decade represents the home for your spirit; with each bead, give thanks for some aspect of your faith, and your faith community. If all this seems like a lot, just do one decade a day for five days (then take the weekend off!).
When you complete the circle, you will have given thanks for fifty things. This should help you keep your life in perspective, and remind you of all that you have, as you work on your homes. It should also help you live your life motivated by gratitude.
When you reach the end of the circle, ask God to help you see all the gifts and invitations that will come your way, and see God in the small details of everyday life.
[Excerpted from the book Spiritual Blueprint: How We Live, Work, Love, Play and Pray]