10 Ways NOT To Pray The Rosary (okay so it’s 11 and some are how to’s)…

rosary (Photo credit: rebeccavalfl)

Everyone in blog-universe seems to do lists of 10 for various things.  So today I started thinking about the Rosary (or prayer in general) and my first (and perhaps only) contribution to this “effort of 10s” will be in that regard. So here are 10 ways not to pray the Rosary—and yes, I have done every one of them at one time or another. Just saying…

1)       Do not get comfortable in bed, pillows all in place, lights off, and then expect to get through even the first decade. And, contrary to “Catholic folk tales anonymous,” there is no teaching that your guardian angel finishes it for you whenever you snooze. If he did, you could simply save a lot of time and do that every single night.  However he has enough to do guarding you from prowlers during those hours.

Couple in Bed
Couple in Bed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2)      The car is a great place to pray—if you have a Rosary or otherwise prayerful CD, that is. A Christian radio station with soft music might be acceptable too—but the “oldies” station is definitely not. Keep in mind that “Vaya Con Dios” is not actually a religious song either. The clue to this is the words “my darling.”

3)      The above also holds true while watching frightening or scary movies on cable. Even if it is the Sorrowful Mysteries, it can be very distracting when someone’s neck is bitten or when Spartacus makes his moves. You might pray for the soul of the man who played him, however (Andy Whitfield). And his family too. He tragically died 2 years ago of lymphoma cancer at age 39. Incidentally this might be a good time to remind us that we can pray for specific intentions every time we pray this powerful set of Prayers.

Cast "Spartacus, Blood and Sand"
Cast “Spartacus, Blood and Sand” (Photo credit: houbi)

4)      If you do pray in bed or in that comfortable recliner with an “old-lady” style blanket on your lap, and you suddenly find your Rosary is across the room, get up and go get it. Offer up that 30 seconds of chilled air to our Lord and He will bless you for it. Do not use your fingers alone when a blessed Rosary is available.

Beechwood House Rest Home (Broadwood), 3 Beech...
Beechwood House Rest Home (Broadwood), 3 Beechey Road, Bournemouth, Dorset (Photo credit: Alwyn Ladell)

5)      Speaking of blessings, do not assume that the dime store quality set of plastic beads you received in the mail yesterday in order to entice you to support a mission or apostolate, even a very worthy one, is actually blessed unless they tell you it is.

6)      Get every single Rosary you use blessed. It takes 30 seconds for a priest or deacon to do so. A blessed Rosary unites your prayers with the prayers of every other Rosary-praying person at that moment in time.  And the prayer of agreement is indeed one of power. You may ask for more than one set of beads to be blessed at a time by the way. Unlike us in confession, rosaries can indeed be sanctified in groups.  And although he may scowl slightly, the priest is secretly glad to do so. He is glad you are praying for him. And tell him of your prayers while you are at it. He does not hear that often enough.

angry priest?
angry priest? (Photo credit: rot ist die farbe der hoffnung)

7)      Do not wear a Rosary as a necklace. And (personal opinion) neither is it a bracelet—unless you are wearing it for convenience so you can use it to pray with during the day or while out and about. Still skip the necklace idea. You will look like a gang member. And your angel may not protect you in this case.


8)      MEN—carry your Rosary in a case, not just loose in your pocket. Chains break, especially when they tangle up with your cell phone, pocket change and small screwdriver sets. And random pieces of old popcorn.

9)      WOMEN—if you carry it in your purse, give it a designated place or compartment just for it. Nothing like dumping out the contents of your purse at the altar of the Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary when the tough-as- nails Rosary leader calls on you to announce the next Mystery. And if you attend my parish she will. Okay I have not done this one. But she is indeed tough as nails. She has several times literally scared me into praying the Rosary with the group, which is not always a bad motivation. And a small card listing the Mysteries for each day is invaluable. Use one even if you know the Mysteries by heart. At least in public.

10)  Remember that the Rosary is a prayer to Jesus, not to Mary! We ask her to pray for us in it—53 times in fact. But while it is in honor of her, it is not for the most part directed at her.  Of the 20 Mysteries, all but 2 are directly about Jesus, His life, ministry and Passion. You are praying with Mary, not to her. And she is praying it with you. When I first came back to the Church I prayed only the first half of the Hail Mary’s due to fear of committing idolatry. Since there are 53 of them that is a lot of prayer I was skipping.  Even though seemingly aimed at her, let your mind dwell more so on the Mystery at hand, whether the birth of Christ, the Crucifixion, Resurrection, or the rest.  Let the words of the Hail Mary be the background music for this “mind movie” you are experiencing and let the Hail Mary’s be the sound effects too. This is the reason you see pictures or statues of Mary praying the Rosary. She is not in fact praying to herself. She is praying to her Son, just as you are. Join her.


11)  Okay so I cannot count, but one more thing—do not pray at the speed of a train wreck. A fast Rosary is around 20 minutes—a well prayed one is most likely 30-35.  And you will notice the difference…guaranteed. If you must break it up into two segments, do so. Just remember where you left off. A good place to stop is just after the introductory Prayers and the first 2 decades. Then the last 3. Even on a short car trip you can then finish it. And again, without the oldies playing, unless you consider Gregorian chants as such…they do in fact predate Elvis as well as the Beatles. Possibly not the Rolling Stones though.


27 Replies to “10 Ways NOT To Pray The Rosary (okay so it’s 11 and some are how to’s)…”

  1. How, funny to read this post, I just started to try to pray the rosary regurly(daily?). Some tips were def helpfull. 🙂
    And…ehm… , i praid it in 16 minutes! How about that! I am a trainwreck already, haha.
    Good to know you can pray in two parts. 🙂


  2. With respect for your opinion. Your wrong.

    There is no Wrong way to pray the rosary.
    Its messages like: your ten ways Not to pray the rosary or any prayer..
    is what turns way over ten people away.
    And when I see people wearing a rosary as fashion, its been the best way to open up and share the beauty of this gift we have..I have seen joy in the information I give. “Its all in the delivery”

    Hope you understand.
    God bless♥


    1. Hi Theresa–First of all my post was done in a light-hearted and playful way, Theresa, and other than yours I have had no negative feedback on it whatsoever. If someone is turned away from the Rosary by my post I would suspect they are not overly interested in the first place.

      While seeing someone desecrating the rosary as a fashion may have given you opportunity to share, and I am glad if it has, that does not make it correct on their parts to wear it. Most that do so are not doing it for the glory of God in any case. The ones who are will gladly be corrected, and not by me but by the Church, which tells us clearly not to use blessed sacramentals in such a non-religious way. There are lovely Crosses and necklaces which can be worn without looking like you are in a gang or worse.

      So I respectfully disagree. I do agree on one point though, there truly is not a “wrong” way to pray, whether the Rosary or other prayers. But there are good ways and then better ways, and best ways, to pray. And we can all improve, me first of all. Using gentle humor I tried to point that out, and admitted my guilt on several of the points as you must have noticed. So I wrote it to myself mostly, not to criticize others. That is not how I operate. Thanks for your thoughts though, and many blessings to you this Lent.


  3. ha ha ha ha ha love this! i love funny catholics :0. i found your post when it was recommended through zemanta so i linked to it on my latest post about the rosary. i confess i commit #11, #1, #2 and #4. Yikes!


  4. Good tips. I appreciate all of them, and, in fact, I think I’ve been careful NOT to do any of them since joining the Church. (I’ve always been on the cautious side, and I even from saying the Rosary myself until I had participated in several group Rosaries and read a few pamphlets/articles about it.)

    However, I’ve had two “battles” with my 5-year-old son, who is just learning the Rosary now and can actually say a whole decade by himself. The necklace one was tough, because I became Catholic in Mexico. In Mexico, many, many people use Rosaries as necklaces, rear-view mirror ornaments and other kinds of decorations/charms. When he saw neighbours, friends and others doing this, he really wanted to wear the Rosary his godmother gave him around his neck. I eventually managed to convince him not to only by having a nun and a priest tell him that it wasn’t correct and show him that the crosses they wore were indeed NOT Rosaries, but real necklaces with a Crucifix at the end.

    After this he agreed not to wear his Rosaries under two conditions; one is that I had to get him a Crucifix to wear. The other was that I would teach him to pray the Rosary so he would know the actual use.

    This is when the second issue turned up. He complains if we say it too slowly. Time is not an issue for him, and he doesn’t get bored. He actually insists that we always complete the Rosary and say the Litany at the end (either the of the Saints or of Our Lady; this is a Mexican practice which I haven’t seen here, but it’s the way we learned the Rosary, and it’s a custom that I feel has great value.) He simply likes the way it sounds faster. I couldn’t convince him that slower was better, so I agreed to say it a bit more quickly under the condition that he had to learn what the words meant, be able to tell me about them and I had to hear him say every word with me. So far so good. I don’t think this “compromise” has been negative. Sometimes we need to adjust to various opinions. So, for now, when we pray as a family, speedy it is (although not too speedy.)


    1. I have done most of them but usually do not…I love the spirit of your son though! And no that is not the same as going fast for the sake of going fast. Total difference in fact. What a child you have. He will grow up to love our Lord Jesus and Blessed Mother . ..Guaranteed.

      So what is this Litany at the end of the Rosary? Teach us about it. I want to know and I am betting others who read this would like to as well. God bless!


  5. Ireland, eh? That is next year’s trip!!! Jordan and Israel in 2011, Vietnam and Cambodia in 2013, Ireland in 2014. Tom has seen much more of Europe than I have, so I might be venturing that direction on my own. We shall see . . . . Tom went to Africa in 1996 with his cousin and a group of her friends. That year, Amy and I spent a week in Paris. I cannot fathom a life without travel. I am an Air Force brat — HATED moving (I went to 6 elementary schools), but I certainly got the travel bug at an early age. We were mostly in northern CA, my mom’s family is in WA, my dad’s is in NC and FL. Tom’s family also traveled — lived in IL but spent 6 weeks every winter in FL. And, back in the day, we drove. My family couldn’t afford to fly and Tom’s didn’t for whatever reasons. Maybe because they were gone for so long and needed a car.

    I did mention the Rosary idea to my minister — she has other things planned for Lent and, of course, I will not be here. I am planning to attend one of the Ash Wednesday services — the 7 a.m. is more meditational and will work well for the Zumba class at 8 a few blocks away. The 7 p.m. service is probably more what I am looking for, but I want the ashes in the a.m. It seems more meaningful and it gives me a better opportunity to explain. Mormons don’t understand Lent — heck, Protestants have only recently begun to honor this season. Plus, my Zumba instructor is Muslim. Can you see a great opportunity for me if I have ashes on my forehead by 8 a.m.???!!! And then, Yoga at 10:30. Lots of people who might not “celebrate” Lent will have an opportunity to ask!!!! Evangelizing at its best — just be me with NO preaching, just opportunities to answer questions.

    I get your point about reciting the Rosary and the Lord’s Prayer — which is why I made my point of how quickly that group in a Catholic church, seemingly led by the monsignor, said the Rosary. We also mentioned tonight how much more meaningful the Lord’s Prayer is from the KJV. Our previous minister liked more ecumenical/modern versions. As progressive and modern thinking as our congregation is, I think we were all happy when Jean switched it back to the KJV. Tradition definitely has its place.

    Just in case you want to follow our adventures and read MY blog:http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog/dayna-tom-2013/2/tpod.html

    I will check in with your blog when we return next month! Blessings to you, Richard!!!


  6. Richard — Not planning on a daily recitation of the Rosary for Lent, but I do have our favorite priest’s Lenten devotional book at the ready — I have not stopped ready his books, just because. 🙂 We will be in Vietnam and Cambodia for most of Lent, so not sure how this will play out, but I am going to try. Maybe, I’ll try the Rosary next year! Great idea! I do “give up” FB each year and what a freeing experience!


    1. Nor was I suggesting daily…or as a recitation!!! That is the problem, not only with the Rosary but the Lord’s Prayer and a host of others, we “recite” while we in our minds make our grocery list or try to remember who is playing the big game and on which channel lol.

      I know you did not mean it that way but you left me a perfect example of the very reason I had to add # 11 lol. But my point about prayer beads is that there is such a variety now and not all Marian based. And truthfully one could pray the traditional Rosary, as I did, with less of an emphasis on Mary if that is where his or her comfort level is at too. I just find “the beads” an amazing way to keep me on track. And to connect with the millions of others throughout the world praying it at that very moment. And yes there is always next year, or this summer, or whenever. But I think you would find it comforting and a strength to your Faith walk. I know I do.

      Blessed trip by the way, I cannot imagine going so far away (the furthest out of the country I have ever been is Canada, and Minnesota borders it on the north) although I used to live in Richmond, VA for a time. But I really have not traveled much. I want to see Rome and the Holy Land, as well as Ireland (as I am over half Irish) and some parts of Africa too. An odd conglomeration truly, but I think it would be both educational and LOTS of fun.

      In the mean time I have friends from the Philippines, also a place I would love to see, and even a young man from Pakistan who actually phoned me on Christmas Eve Day and sang Happy Birthday to me (my family didn’t!!!)–our family does not celebrate a whole lot of anything. They did make up for it when we got together in January though. And yes then they sang.


  7. OK, so I had to chuckle at #11. Obviously, since I am not Catholic, praying the Rosary is not something I do — but I do have a Rosary in a special pocket in my purse and I do have an instructional app on my phone, just in case. 😉 Anyway, back to #11 — One day, while sitting in the local Catholic church, I overheard a group of “old” people reciting the Rosary. I listened and when they were finished — too quickly, I thought! — I looked over to where they were sitting. Lo and behold, I do believe it was the pastor/priest who had been leading them. Not quite as fast as a train wreck, but I did wonder how it could be meaningful when they seemed to rush. Just sayin’.


      1. One small challenge for Lent, Dayna…many Protestants are discovering the Rosary. And there are many ways to pray it too. Anglicans have a number of prayer books to use with prayer beads and in any case asking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin can’t hurt any of us. And it is not idolatry. Just suggesting to try it out…skipping # 11 of course!!! Hope you are well.


      1. THANKS I will check him out…and I think I saw something about him on EWTN, I think he was in trouble a lot lol. So with Dom Bosco too. And St Theresa of Avila could occasionally be a bit on the sarcastic side, one time telling God in prayer after a very bad day “Lord if this is how you treat your Followers, no wonder there are so few of them.” I think some humor is allowable in the Kingdom.


  8. Yes! Esp. number 10. I try to explain to friends who are protestant, but it’s hard. <:(

    We say it every night at our house, but we do have issues sometimes if we take to long. It's sometimes difficult to get across to teenagers how important the rosary is.

    Thank you for posting this, Richard! God bless you!


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