Praying with Power
The Rosary is a powerful prayer of intercession but very often it is rendered impotent by the lackadaisical, often meaningless manner in which it is said. Many people rattle it like parrots, often at the speed of the express train, as if eager to get it done with like a chore that one doesn't like but has to do. If this is your attitude in praying the Rosary, my gentle advice to you is: Don't bother. Because Mary isn't listening! Why should she when she knows you are not talking to her?
If you really want your prayers to be heard and answered, and if you want to exploit the full power of the Rosary, here is how:
- Say it with meaning.
Many people pray the Rosary by rote, not giving the slightest thought to the words they are saying. That isn't the way to pray the Rosary (or any prayer for that matter), no matter how well you know it or how many years you have been saying it. Say the Rosary meaningfully. Think about what you are saying in each line, every time you say each line!
- Meditate on each mystery.
The Rosary is a meditative prayer. Each decade has a series of reflections on instances in the life of Mary or Jesus. Ponder over them as you say each decade. Connect them to situations in your life. Pray for people in associated circumstances.
- Do not include additional prayers in the Rosary for the sake of including them
There are several "add-ons" to the Rosary, each add-on supposedly carrying an additional grace. Add on as much as you want, though try to have some sort of rationale for doing so, and don't do so at the expense of the actual Rosary. Some people begin the Rosary with the Angelus (which, incidentally, was never part of the Rosary), add the Litany of our Lady at the end, follow it up with the Memorare, and then pile on a few extra intentions for good measure. Which is all very well, provided it hasn't become a chore to say, and isn't rushed through!
- Exploit the full power of intercession of the Rosary
Saying a simple prayer of petition to our Heavenly Father before starting each decade (before each Our Father) is a way of doing your daily bit of prayer for others. If you are not in a rush to go to bed, say a simple prayer of petition with each bead (before each Hail Mary), as well. There are so many people who need prayers. Pray for all those people who have asked you to pray for them. Pray for the sick, the dying, the wounded, the suffering. Pray for alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, homosexuals. Pray for those in bondage: physical, emotional and spiritual. Pray for the world.
- Say a Scriptural Rosary
Either in combination with the above, or on its own, the Scriptural Rosary is another powerful way of saying the rosary. The Scriptural Rosary is a modern version of the way the Rosary was prayed in the late Middle Ages. In those days, between 1425 to 1525 A.D., people recited a different meditation before they said each Hail Mary. These thoughts described some event or incident in the lives of Jesus and Mary. The Rosary presented here adapts this custom by drawing its thoughts directly from the inspired writings of the New and Old Testaments, bringing the power of the Word of God to the Rosary for a really powerful prayer.
- And, finally, in your devotion to Our Lady, please don't forget God!
Our Lady is the sweetest, most wonderful woman of them all, and she has a very special relationship with God, and with us. I know many of us are very devoted to her and say Rosary after Rosary, Novena after Novena. But please don't ever forget that she is not God; she just intercedes for us with him! You need to pray to God too. Some of us are so much in awe of God, we think him unaccessible, but if you take the time to get to know him in prayer, you will discover that this is far from the case.