What is prayer?

Prayer pic
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Prayer is probably the most important activity of our lives because it is the way we develop a relationship with God.

Prayer is talking to God, listening to God and enjoying the presence of God. This can take many forms such as praise and worship, confession, asking for things, telling God things, listening and waiting in his presence. At St Mary’s, we meet together in church most days for informal Morning Prayer. A group of us also pray the Rosary each month.

When we pray the whole of God is involved (the Trinity). We come to God the Father though Jesus the Son and with the help, guidance and prompting of the Holy Spirit. It’s not about saying a formula or poetic words. God is interested in a heartfelt relationship so don’t worry about the words or the method, just come into his presence and pray as you are able for whatever is on your heart.

God will be delighted to meet with you wherever you are.

Who Can Pray the Rosary?

Anyone who knows six easy prayers can pray a Rosary; you will also need to know twenty Mysteries to meditate upon as you pray. You do not have to be a Catholic!

The Order of Prayers

The Rosary begins with the Apostles Creed, followed by one Our Father, three Hail Mary’s, and a Glory Be.

Next come five mysteries, each consisting of one Our Father, ten Hail Mary’s, and a Glory Be. Conclude with the Hail Holy Queen.

Rosary Beads

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If you do not have Rosary beads, it is perfectly okay to count with your fingers. Counting beads frees your mind to help you meditate.

Prayers for Praying the Rosary

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of Heaven and earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified; died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell;
the third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven,
sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty;
from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Our Father

Our Father,
Who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy kingdom come;
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou amongst women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Glory Be

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.
Hail Holy Queen

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve:
to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us,
and after this our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Leader: Pray for us O Holy Mother of God,
All: That we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

Leader: Let us pray.
All: O God whose only begotten Son by his life, death, and Resurrection
has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life;
grant we beseech thee,
that meditating on these mysteries of the Most Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
we may imitate what they contain
and obtain what they promise through the same Christ our Lord.

The Twenty Mysteries

Here is a brief listing and description of all twenty Mysteries.

The Joyful Mysteries

The Annunciation: The Archangel Gabriel "announces" to Mary that she shall conceive the Son of God.

The Visitation: Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist.

The Nativity: Jesus is born.

The Presentation: Mary and Joseph "present" Jesus in the Temple where they meet Simeon.

The Finding in the Temple: After losing Him, Mary and Joseph find young Jesus teaching the Rabbis in the Temple.
The Luminous Mysteries

The Baptism in the Jordan: The voice of the Father declares Jesus the beloved Son.

The Wedding at Cana: Christ changes water into wine, his first public miracle.

The Proclamation of the Kingdom: Jesus calls to conversion (cf. Mk 1:15) and forgives the sins of all who draw near to him.

The Transfiguration: The glory of the Godhead shines forth from the face of Christ.

The Institution of the Eucharist: Jesus offers the first Mass at the Last Supper with his apostles, establishing the sacramental foundation for all Christian living.
The Sorrowful Mysteries

The Agony in the Garden: Jesus sweats water and blood while praying the night before his passion.

The Scourging at the Pillar: Pilate has Jesus whipped.

The Crowning with Thorns: Roman soldiers crown Jesus' head with thorns.

The Carrying of the Cross: Jesus meets His mother and falls three times on the way up Calvary.

The Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies before His mother and His apostle John.
The Glorious Mysteries

The Resurrection: Jesus rises from the dead.

The Ascension: Jesus leaves the Apostles and bodily "ascends" to heaven.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit: The Apostles receive the Holy Spirit in tongues of fire in the upper room with Mary.

The Assumption: Mary is taken bodily--assumed--into heaven by God at the end of her life here on earth.

The Coronation: Mary is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.
Mysteries for Certain Weekdays

Traditionally, many people say the Joyful Mysteries on Monday, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday, and start again with the Joyful Mysteries on Thursday, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday.

The Glorious Mysteries are then prayed on Saturday and Sunday.

Now that the Luminous Mysteries have recently been added, the schedule is:

Monday - Joyful
Tuesday - Sorrowful
Wednesday - Glorious
Thursday - Luminous
Friday - Sorrowful
Saturday - Joyful
Sunday - Glorious

Try to place yourself "into" the scene of the particular mystery as you pray, imagining the sights, smells, sounds, and emotions that Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and other participants experienced during the actual events.

It is also okay to meditate on the meaning of the words of the prayers as you pray them, or even to meditate on the person for whom you are offering the Rosary.
Offering Intentions

Some people who pray the Rosary offer particular intentions before each decade.

For instance, you can ask God to grant you a favour, heal a sick person, help someone in their journey of faith etc.

Some people offer the same intention every day, sometimes for years on end.

Intentions are as varied as the people who pray. Ask for big and small gifts. Be bold! In this sense, the Rosary is an exchange of gifts between friends.
The Full Rosary

A "full Rosary" consists of saying all twenty decades, that is, all four sets of five Mysteries.

A "Rosary" consists of praying five decades of one set of Mysteries.

Many people pray a full Rosary every day; either by praying four separate Rosaries in the morning, midday, afternoon, and evening; or all twenty Mysteries at one time (it is not necessary to repeat the preamble--the Apostles Creed, etc.--between the four sets of Mysteries if one is praying a full Rosary.

Conclude with Hail Holy Queen after the last of the Glorious mysteries).
The Family Rosary

The Family Rosary is usually prayed out loud after dinner or before going to bed.

Family members can take turns "leading" the decades with one person praying the beginning of the prayers, and all others praying the endings.

Some families announce intentions before they begin the Rosary; others take turns announcing special intentions before they begin the Rosary; others take turns announcing special intentions before the beginning of each decade.

Many families add favorite prayers at the end of the Rosary.