The Everyday Prayer Co started as a simple desire I had: I wanted to learn how to pray the Rosary.
It was something that I'd been around quite a bit growing up Catholic, but I never really learned how to pray it. After many years, I finally made it a point to learn it.
This post is the plan that I took to memorize, learn, and understand the Rosary.
The Rosary is not a difficult prayer to learn, but I have a few simple suggestions to really learn how to pray the Rosary and what it means, and not let it sink to just a series of repeated words.
- Learn about the Rosary
- Memorize the basic prayers
- Say a decade
- Practice a full Rosary
- Memorize the mysteries
- Make it a habit
Step 1: Learn about the Rosary
The first step is to learn a little more about what is happening when we pray this prayer, and where the prayer came from. The best way to do this is to watch this ridiculous talk from Father Don Calloway speaking at Steubenville University. It's a long talk, but it's worth it.
Key highlights -
The Rosary is a weapon, and the devil hates it.
Jesus loves the Rosary and he listens to it.
The world changes when we say the Rosary. It has power.
Step 2: Memorize the basic prayers.
Before you dive into the structure of the Rosary, start with memorizing the basic and important prayers that make up the Rosary: The Our Father, The Hail Mary, The Glory Be, and The Fatima Prayer.
These are foundational prayers, not just to the Rosary, but to Christian prayers. They are soaked in biblical tradition and are the foundations of our faith.
Take your time memorizing them, if you haven't before. Once you have them memorized, take some time to think about what you are actually saying when you say them. Think about what the words mean and what you are asking. Let them sink in. Don't move on until you feel like you really know these prayers.
If you need a copy of all the prayers of the Rosary, you can find them at our link: Link
Step 3: Say a decade
The next easy step is to say what is called a decade. A decade is simply one section of a Rosary. A full Rosary repeats a decade five times, with some additional introduction and conclusion prayers.
Here's how a decade goes:
- Say an Our Father
- Say ten Hail Mary's
- Say a Glory Be
- Say the Fatima Prayer
The key to practicing this decade, is to start to practice 'meditative prayer.' This is prayer where we don't focus on the words being said as much, we focus and practice simply 'being with God.' After the words are memorized and natural, we let them float by as we say them, and we focus on just being with Jesus as we pray.
What is he saying to you? Can you sense him with you? Just focus on him.
This is when the Rosary comes alive and we really get connected to our Lord.
Keep practicing the saying a decade until it becomes natural. A great plan to start is to try to say a decade at the end of your daily prayer time. Or say one at the end of your lunch break.
Step 4: Practice a full Rosary
Once you have a decade down, the next step put it into a full Rosary. There are some introduction prayers to learn, and some conclusion prayers, but the main structure of a Rosary is just five decades in a row.
We've made a great downloadable PDF that outlines all of the prayers - find it here:
A great way to learn to put together a full Rosary is with a group. The Rosary can be a very communal prayer, and has a back and forth structure to enable this. You can find this with a group of friends, or many local churches will pray a Rosary each morning or once a week. There's normally a leader, which makes it easy to follow along and learn the structure.
If you aren't ready to jump into group Rosaries, I also like praying along with this great video from Ascension Presents. I just pick on of the brothers to follow along with, and it's like I'm praying with a group.
I wouldn't worry too much about the Mysteries at this point, move on to those in the next step after you feel like you have the structure of the Rosary down.
Remember after you have the structure down, let your brain move from 'making sure you pray the prayers in the right order' to meditating on Jesus and being 'with him' as you pray. Focus on him, and not just the prayers.
Step 5: Memorize the Mysteries
After you feel like you've got the structure down, the last step is to add the mysteries of the Rosary to your prayer. The Mysteries are scenes from scripture that we meditate on while praying the Rosary.
A different scene is prayed during each decade of the Rosary. For example, when praying Glorious Mysteries, we meditate on Jesus's Resurrection, his Ascension, The descent of the Holy Spirit, The Assumption and Coronation of Mary. The normal practice is to announce the mystery right before you pray the Our Father prayer of the upcoming decade. You can also read scripture that tells the story of the current mystery to help mediate on the mystery.
There are five different 'sets of five scenes,' each with a different focus: the Glorious Mysteries, the Joyful Mysteries, the Luminous Mysteries and the Sorrowful Mysteries.
Here's the full list of the mysteries and scriptural verses to go along with them: Link
Each Mystery is prayed on a different day of the week.
Glorious Mysteries: Sunday and Wednesday
Joyful Mysteries: Saturday and Monday
Luminous Mysteries: Thursday
Sorrowful Mysteries: Friday and Tuesday
I put together an easy way to remember what mystery goes on what day: Link
I wouldn't overthink the mysteries of the Rosary too much. If they are helpful to your meditative prayer, pray with them. If you don't find them helpful, don't worry about it. Myself, I find that sometimes I pray them and sometimes I don't. The important thing is to keep praying the Rosary!
Step 6: Say daily or as needed!
The final step is to make it a part of your habitual prayer life. This prayer is powerful and I really believe it changes things. One way that's been useful to me is to pray the Rosary right after lunch. It's a great break during the day and an opportunity to refocus on our Lord.
Regardless of when you pray it, do it often. It's a wonderful gift that's been given to us. When the church needs change, she often asks for a 'crusade of rosaries.' What you are holding is a weapon and you should use it to join the fight!
Please let me know how your journey with the Rosary is going, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message an email at: email@example.com
And don't forget about our free Rosary Guide Download. Keep Praying!