So some of my college students asked me if I would teach them how to use the rosary to pray.We just got back from our walk spending time in prayer using the rosary as a guide, but I thought I’d post the write up I’m giving to them.
My good friend Colin first taught me to use the rosary and it has been an amazing experience and discipline for me to explore and the material that I picked up from him was incredibly valuable. Alot of these prayers are variations that I have developed on some of the prayers he wrote for his personal devotion.
I hope that this is uplifting and maybe a cool idea for you to explore on your own.
Praying the Rosary, a Method
- To start, start at the base of the rosary where the three strands meet. There is a set of ten beads (called a decade). Holding each bead individually, pray the Jesus Prayer.
- “Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Repeat this prayer through this process on each bead and after saying the Jesus Prayer, pray for a particular thing or person. If people, put their name in instead of “me.” Use this for each bead in the first decade.
a. recommended categories to pray through:
iii. 10 commandments (personal confession)
iv. Fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control), and throw in a free one for yourself too.
v. Make it up as you go along.
- You will come to a piece of string before the next bead. On this string segment, prayer this blessing.
- “Blessed art thou, Lord God, ruler of the universe, who causes the rain to fall on the good and the evil alike.”
i. This prayer is a reminder of God’s goodness to all men, whether good or evil.
- You will come to a solitary bead. On this bead, pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples when he taught them how to pray.
- “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
- Don’t let this become a vain repetition. Sit and resonate with what it is Jesus was bringing into this prayer. Think through the words while you say it and really mean it for your life.
- Move on to the next stringed space. Over this segment, before star ting the next decade, pray this prayer of God’s glory.
- “Glory to God in the highest! Who was and is and is to come! All glory in heaven and on earth are his!”
- This prayer is a reminder that while God is close and intimate to us, he is also far above. Enjoy thinking of God’s loftiness along with his closeness.
- Go back to Step 1 – Step 4 for the next 4 decades. Work your way through (change up what focus you give to your decades though so you can pray for different people or different focuses. Just use the Jesus Prayer to give you focus.)
- When you get back to the beginning, we’ll start working down the final knot towards the cross. When you finish the last decade, follow the same pattern of Steps 2-4 down towards the cross until you get to the three beads next to each other. For these three beads, there is a different prayer, which is similar. I altered these to make them more personal, so feel free to adapt them as you desire. 3 is a big number in Scripture, so if you’d like to do a special prayer to the 3 person of the Trinity, go to town. If you’d like to use mine, here it is.
- Bead 1
i. “Lord Jesus, thank you for your service. You came to serve. Teach me how to be a servant. Give me a servant’s heart. And if it is your will, by my serving, teach others to serve as well.”
- Bead 2
i. “Lord Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice. You gave up so much. Teach me how to sacrifice as well. Show me what to give up. And if it is your will, by my sacrificial heart, teach others to sacrifice as well.”
- Bead 3
i. “Lord Jesus, thank you for your suffering. You came and suffered and died. Teach me how to suffer well. Show me how suffering changes me. And if it is your will, by my suffering, teach others to suffer as you did as well.”
- There is a string gap next and on this string you pray a prayer from the book of Revelations.
- “Salvation belongs to our God, seated on the throne, and unto the Lamb. Praise and glory, wisdom and thanks, honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
- This is a combination of several prayers spoken in the throne room of God almighty acknowledging his power and his glory. Be reminded of that as you pray this prayer.
- There is another solitary bead and on this bead we pray a variation on a ritual prayer the Jewish people prayed very regularly called the Shema.
- “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. And let us love one another as Jesus loved us.”
- This prayer is Jesus’ answer to what the greatest commandment was and was a common prayer that every Jew would have prayed several times a day.
- The last gap is for another Hebrew blessing prayer that the priests would pray over the people, but I have personalized it.
- “May the Lord bless us and keep us. May the Lord cause his face to shine on us and by gracious to us. May the Lord turn his countenance upon us and give us peace.”
- Finally, I like to hold the cross in my hand and take a second to reflect on Jesus life and sacrifice. Then I close my time of praying the rosary by saying the words of the 23rd Psalm to myself.
- The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me besides still waters, he restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.”
And that is the end of the prayer of the rosary as I use it. I hope it is useful to you. It has been a blessing on my life and I hope it is useful for you to reflect in prayer.