How to Pray the Rosary Better: 5 Strategies That Really Help

How to Pray the Rosary Deeply: 5 Strategies That Really Help
Monday, March 15, 2021 - 10:13am

How to Pray the Rosary Better: 5 Strategies That Really Help

 

Tired of daydreaming while while praying the rosary? These tips will help keep you more engaged.

 

I had just finished praying the rosary as I do every day and when I finished, I had a revelation.

 

I prayed the rosary meditating on what we were going to have for dinner, if I can still deduct charitable donations on my taxes, and contemplating if I ever returned that overdue book to the library.

 

I wish I could say that this was a rare experience.  But it’s not.

 

Related: 4 Easiest Ways for How to Pray the Rosary Every Day.


Many saints at one point or another have needed help on how to pray the rosary better and have had difficulty praying the rosary with full attention. “A novice was grieving about her numerous distractions during prayer: ‘I too, have many,’ replied Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, ‘but I accept all for love of the good God, even the most extravagant thoughts that come into my head!’” (Page 126 Thoughts of Saint Therese).

 

If you have been praying the Rosary for a while, it can become very easy to get into a habit of just running through it without really thinking about what you are doing. Autopiloting it.

 

I’m happy to say we almost never miss a day of praying the rosary and have built a strong habit of doing so.  But on several occasions, at the end of the day, we end up saying, “We still have to say the rosary!” and rush through it without meditatively praying it.

 

If you are like me, it can sometimes begin to feel like a self-imposed obligation, you are discouraged because of all life’s distractions, and you just autopilot it.

 

Of course, we should always be in the mindset of trying to squeeze our day into our devotions, rather than our devotions into our day, but it’s hard.

 

Our mentality should be that we want to pray our prayers because we want to do what is good and pleasing to the Lord.

 

To be clear, it is better to be in the habit of praying the rosary poorly than not praying it at all. 

 

Bonus: Download free PDF Guide to Praying the Rosary with English and Latin Paryers and short Meditations!


Building the habit is the hard part.  Once you have the foundation, you can build on it. 

 

So, let’s build and pray the rosary better!

 

1. Basic Meditation for Novices on How to Pray the Rosary Better
 

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A tried-and-true way to meditate while praying the prayers of the rosary better is to read short scripture readings while reciting the rosary.  This is the essence of how one is supposed to pray the rosary.  It is a great approach to this devotion as the mind, body, and spirit are all engaged.

 

To pray methodically focusing on meditation, pray all the beginning prayers a little slower than you usually would, and think about what you are saying.

 

Then, when you begin the first mystery, pray the Our Father again, thinking about what you are saying.

 

Next, while you are reciting the 10 Hail Marys, read scripture that describes the mystery, and think about it putting yourself in the scene.In this way you will be walking with our Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary in their earthly lives. Below are some scripture verses that go along with each mystery. One of the best free resources can be found here.

 

Related: 4 Easiest Ways for How to Pray the Rosary Every Day.

 

Finish the decade by reciting the Glory Be and Fatima prayer, thinking again about what you are saying.

 

Joyful Mysteries

  • Annunciation (John 1:14)
  • Visitation (Luke 1:39)
  • Nativity (Luke 2:7)
  • Presentation (Luke 2:22)
  • Finding of the Child Jesus (Luke 2:46)

 

Sorrowful Mysteries

  • Agony in the Garden (Luke 22:39, 41-44)
  • Scourging at the Pillar (John 19:1)
  • Crowning with Thorns (John 19:1-5)
  • Carrying of the Cross (John 19:16, Luke 23:27, Gal. 6:14)
  • Crucifixion (Luke 23:20, Matt. 27:26, John 19:30, Gal. 5:24, Gal. 2:19)

 

Glorious Mysteries

  • Resurrection (Matt. 28:5, Col. 2:12, Col. 3:1)
  • Ascension into Heaven (Luke 24:50)
  • Decent of the Holy Spirit (John 4:16)
  • Assumption of Mary (3 Kings 2:19, Ecclus. 24:15)
  • Coronation of Mary (Cant. 4:7, Apoc. 12:1)

 

Luminous Mysteries

  • Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (Matt 3:16-17)
  • Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:5-10)
  • Revelation of the Kingdom of God (Luke 12:31-33)
  • Transfiguration (Matt. 17:2)
  • Institution of the Eucharist (Luke 22:19)

 

If it is difficult for you to read the mysteries, recite the Hail Marys, and move your fingers along each bead, then try listening to a podcast, CD, or YouTube video of others praying the rosary. Move your fingers from bead to bead the best you can and read the scripture as the prayers are recited through the speakers.  This way you can get the most out of meditation without becoming overwhelmed.

 

Don’t be ashamed if you find it difficult to do all of these things at once. Nobody is perfect every time. Be patient with yourself and you will get better over time.  Our Lord will be super happy that you are trying.

Related: The Essential Catholic Guide to Meditation

2. Create a Better Prayer Ambiance with Lighting Candles.
 

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I really like to turn all the lights off and pray the rosary by candlelight.  This is something that helps me focus more.  Perhaps my eyes are drawn to the light and everything else fades into the background.  It works!

 

Practically, it can be difficult to read with only 1 candle lit if you are trying to meditate on scripture while praying the rosary.  If you are having that problem, then light another candle closer to you so you can read and pray by candlelight.

 

If you have children, they might really like this also, as it signifies a special time when all the lights go out and we pray.

Related: The Essential Catholic Guide to Meditation

3. Turn On Some Chant or Polyphony.
 

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I do this sometimes as I really like the sound of chant or polyphony in the background. Be careful with this one as even chant can be distracting.  Make sure it is low enough that you are not distracted from praying, but loud enough that you can hear it.

 

Bonus: Download free PDF Guide to Praying the Rosary with English and Latin Paryers and short Meditations!

 

4. Bring Out the Pictures!
 

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Some people just cannot read and pray or hear the Hail Mary at the same time.  It’s okay!  We are all different.  Try pictures instead.  Grab some candles and put a small tealight in front of each picture of a mystery.  You can print some off here.  Focus on the picture.  We have all heard a picture is worth a thousand words.  If you can’t read and pray at the same time, just look, imagine, and pray about the scene you are looking at.

 

Related: The Essential Catholic Guide to Meditation

5. Other Resources and Ideas

 

To keep things fresh and avoid falling into bad habits where you no longer meditate but just knock out the rosary each day, you have to be creative. 

 

Find other resources that describe our Lord’s life, highlight the passages, and meditate on those.

 

Below are a few ideas:

 

  • Jesus of Nazareth - Pope Benedict
  • Life of Christ – Fulton Sheen
  • The Savior’s Life – Rev. Gilbert Simmons C.S.P.

 

Switch up the music every day.  One day have chant on.  The next, try polyphony.  Another, Bach.  Try different prayerful, ambient background music.

 

Change the scenery.  Pray at the church once in a while.  Walk through a garden and bring a picture book that depicts the mysteries so you can stroll and meditate.

 

Related: 4 Easiest Ways For How to Pray the Rosary Every Day.

 

In conclusion

 

There are many creative ways you can use to keep yourself engaged in the Gospels so you can meditate better while praying the rosary.  There is only one proper method for how to pray the rosary, but you need to find how to engage with the method that works for you. How you do this needs to fit your personality, and your family so you never stop praying it. 

 

The rosary, as Fr. Donald Calloway highlights, is a sword.  Some wield a sword like a samurai. Others are traditional fencers.  While some prefer long swordsmanship.  They all wield a sword, but their technique is different. 

 

You need to find your preferred technique and then do battle every day.

 

Listed above are just a few techniques.

 

If you have another way, let us know!

 

Bonus: Download free PDF Guide to Praying the Rosary with English and Latin Paryers and short Meditations!


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Grab the Free Rosary Guide!

References:

Thérèse. (1988). Thoughts of Saint Therese: The Little Flower of Jesus Carmelite of the monastery of Lisieux, 1873-1897. Rockford, IL: Tan Books and

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