Here are some of my tips and tricks for praying the rosary.
Just the other day, I found myself without the time to pray my rosary in the morning when I usually do. When I found myself — unexpectedly — in the car later in the day, I was tempted just to listen to podcasts, like I normally would. And, to be honest, there are a lot of times that I do skip my rosary if the morning time I’m used to praying it in doesn’t work out.
Why is that? I’ve said before that it’s the prayer I have to pray. So…what gives?
The other day, I found the grace to at least start the rosary. Sometimes, you’ll have days like that. Other times, I have days where I just…don’t…cooperate.
I have found, though, that viewing the rosary as Not Optional helps me. It has to be something as non-negotiable as dinner or clean underwear or brushing my teeth for me to take it seriously. It’s a promise I make to myself. And to God.
Hard though it is, I never cease to be blessed by it.
One at a time.
This “one decade at a time” mentality is, in fact, how I got hooked on the rosary. Don’t look at it as 59 prayers. See it as a group of ten Hail Marys. That’s it. Start with the first decade in the set of mysteries you’re praying and get that done. Move to the next mystery. And so forth.
Maybe you’ll pray a decade as you make coffee and breakfast and another in the shower. Or maybe it will be part of your commute to work. Use those times when you would otherwise be twiddling your thumbs and use your fingers to keep track of Hail Marys.
There are times in my life when I have to accept less than ten Hail Marys. Though it may mark me as both a super slacker and heretical, I think it’s better to pray a quality rosary than to get it “done.” One decade, prayed from your heart, means more for you and to God than the whole rosary, prayed as a race. And, that said, I don’t know that I’ve ever REALLY prayed a quality rosary. (Perfectionist tendencies, begone!)
Change it up.
Avoid getting stale…there are audio rosaries galore, different kinds of rosaries (the Scriptural Rosary, the Franciscan Crown, and many others), sung rosaries, and many books of meditations. Try something different when you feel yourself losing focus or feeling tempted to give it up.
If you’re looking for rosary resources, I’ve shared my favorites before, most recently here and here.
Dedicate your efforts to something special.
Is there someone in your life who needs special prayer? Can you think of someone who could use a miracle? Do you have an intention that really needs some attention? Use the rosary as your go-to devotion, and dedicate your prayer efforts to that intention. Maybe each decade gets dedicated to an intention. I know people who use each bead of their rosary for a person in their life. There’s no limit to it, but I find that giving my rosary a purpose gives me different motivation for praying, motivation that I need to use when rosary praying is especially challenging.
Ask your guardian angel to help.
Seriously. I talk to my angel all the time, though asking him to help me is a fairly recent development. But if, as my mother-in-law and others in her generation insist, your guardian angel really does finish your rosary if you don’t or can’t, doesn’t that indicate a vested interest in helping you to pray it in the first place? When I do ask my guardian angel to help me, I’m never disappointed (provided I cooperate with the help he gives me, mind you).
Pray with others.
In person or virtually, this can really help. Come Pray the Rosary allows you to pray from the comfort of your home with people all over the world. You can also call a friend, or commit to praying at a certain time every day, knowing that the other person is also praying. Involving others in your rosary praying can give you the inclination you might not otherwise have. It can also bless you far beyond what you expect.
Don’t give up.
If today you fail, try again tomorrow, and know there’s grace in the persevering.