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5 Reasons I No Longer Pray the Rosary
Jesus warned against repetitious prayer

As a fervent Catholic growing up, I prayed the rosary often. In fact, I still have my original rosary in a shadow box with a picture of me in my altar boy cassock. During those formative years, running my fingers over the crucifix and fifty-nine beads, while repeating the assigned prayers, was an often-recurring part of my spiritual regimen (quoting the Apostles’ Creed, fifty-three Hail Marys, six Our Fathers and six Glory Be prayers). Then I drifted from the church as a teenager and that practice became a faint memory. At the age of 19, however, I was born again, then shortly afterward, baptized with the Holy Spirit. From that point, I began serving God with all my heart. However, I have never prayed the rosary in over fifty years—and for the following five reasons.

(1) Jesus taught against repetitious prayer
Many who are deeply sincere pray the rosary often. But is doing so Scriptural? Does God approve of it? Does it work?

Jesus was very clear in warning against this practice. He instructed His disciples, “When you pray, do not use vain repetitions, as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their much speaking” (Matthew 6:7). Why repeat the same prayers, over and over, with no variation, thousands of times over years and even decades? We would never attempt to communicate with fellow humans using such a method.

What if every time a wife needed her husband to take out the trash, she grabbed a string of beads and repeated in mantra-like fashion, “Please take out the garbage,” at least a hundred times? Would that help facilitate the process? I don’t think so. Quite the opposite would probably happen. One time of sincerely making that request known should prove sufficient. In a similar way, prayer is meant to be heartfelt and conversational, not memorized and mechanical.

(2) The mind-boggling logistics of praying to Mary

There are 1.3 billion Catholics in the world. Just suppose only one-tenth of them prayed the rosary in a day. That’s 130 million people quoting the Hail Mary fifty-three times (the number of beads assigned to that prayer). That totals 6,890,000,000 Hail Mary petitions lifted to her in one day. Divide that by 1,440 minutes in a day and you have Mary receiving almost five million prayerful requests with each passing minute.

Think about that! Could you process nearly five million people talking to you at the same time? To intelligently log that many petitions, Mary would have to be omniscient and omnipresent—attributes only God possesses. Besides, isn’t it strange that there are fifty-three prayers to Mary in the rosary as opposed to twelve prayers to God logged during the rosary recitation? Doesn’t that seem totally out of balance, attributing far more importance to a created human being than the Creator Himself?

There is absolutely no record of anyone in the Bible praying to Mary or to the saints after they have passed to the next world. It is a non-Scriptural practice, even when using all 73 books of the Catholic Bible as a basis for proof. The few biblical passages sometimes cited by Catholics in an attempt to uphold this doctrine do not and can not successfully prove the legitimacy of the concept. (This is a subject I address extensively in my book The Beliefs of the Catholic Church.) Praying to the saints is actually an attempt to contact the dead, something God calls an “abomination” in Deuteronomy 18:11-12.

(3) Are you a sinner or a saint?

Here’s the wording of the Hail Mary prayer:

“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among 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. Amen.”

Those who pray the rosary repeatedly identify themselves as sinners (fifty-three times). However, the Bible speaks very disparagingly of that class of individuals. Read Psalm 1 and my point is quickly proven. Verse one declares, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners.” Then verse five warns that “sinners” will not stand in “the congregation of the righteous.”

All those who are truly born again are commonly referred to as saints in Scripture (not “sinners,” which is definitely quite the opposite). The Bible-based definition of a “saint” is someone who has been sanctified: cleansed from the defilement of sin, made holy, and consecrated to God. Check out Paul’s opening greeting to various churches in his epistles. He often refers to all believers as “saints” (Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1-2).

Another side issue—how could Mary be aware of the “hour” of every Catholic’s death? There are approximately 1.3 billion Catholics in a world teeming with approximately 8 billion people, Therefore, Catholics make up about 16.25% of the world population. About 165,000 people die daily. If you do the math, that could mean about 26,800 Catholics passing away each day. Once again, only an omniscient, omnipresent God could be cognizant of such an ongoing exodus from this world to the next.

(4) Meditating on the mysteries

Those who pray the rosary are taught to meditate on various mysteries during its recitation. Most are pivotal happenings in the life of Jesus. However, two “Glorious Mysteries” are non-biblical and non-provable: the Assumption of Mary into heaven and the Coronation of Mary as Queen of heaven. Both have been strongly debated matters of speculation from around the fifth century onward. The Assumption of Mary finally became official church dogma in 1950. Her status as Queen of heaven, though contested for centuries, was finally ratified by the decree of Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam on October 11, 1954. That’s nearly two thousand years after the establishment of the church in this world. Such beliefs were never part of the doctrinal foundation of Christianity.

(5) An unknown practice for over a millennium
Dominic promoted the concept of the rosary (1208 A.D.) after claiming to receive a vision of Mary and instructions from her concerning its use.

Most people believe the origin of the rosary can be traced to Dominic, a Castillian Catholic priest who claimed to have a vision of Mary in 1208 A.D. She supposedly instructed him to pray the rosary so that his inferior force of only 1,500 Catholic fighters could prevail against a superior army of over 30,000 Albigensian soldiers. This attacking group was trying to take over a certain region of France, teaching the heresy that everything material is evil, while only that which is spiritual is good.

The Albigensians spent the night in drunken revelry before the battle while Dominic’s followers spent the night praying the rosary. Then Dominic’s forces launched a surprise attack and miraculously won. The idea of praying the rosary became popular as a result, but that one battle is not sufficient proof of this non-biblical practice that has become so  all-pervasive within Catholicism.

Besides, that was over a millennium after the Lord Jesus walked in this world. The original church would have never used beads to count repetitious prayers or prayed to Mary. Other religions count prayer beads (like Buddhists, Hindus, and Muslims), but there’s no account in the book of Acts of early Christians doing so.

There is a scripture that warns, “Learn not the way of the heathen” (Jeremiah 10:2 KJV).

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Written by Mike Shreve