How to Pray the Rosary

What makes up a Rosary

The rosary has 59 beads, a crucifix, and a medal, with certain prayers for each of these different pieces. The prayers of the rosary can be divided into three categories:

  1. Introductory Prayers

  2. Decades

  3. Closing Prayers

During all the prayers of the rosary, we ask Mary to pray for us and to guide us by the example of her son, Jesus.

Introductory Prayers

The introductory prayers prepare you for deeper reflection when you pray the decades. They play a lead role in inviting Mary and Jesus to the conversation.

At any point during this time, think of any needs or struggles in your life. Mention them out loud or quietly in your heart. If you are praying with a group, you can say your intentions out loud so the rest of the group can pray for them as well.

Step 1: While holding the crucifix, make the sign of the cross and pray the Apostles’ Creed. This is the core belief statement of our faith.

Step 2: On the first large bead, pray the Our Father.

Step 3: On the next three small beads, pray the Hail Mary. 

Step 4: In the space after the third Hail Mary, pray the Glory Be.

Most if not all of these Introductory Prayers echo themes of prayer, love, hope, and belief. Now that you've set the stage with these human feelings, you are ready to begin the first decade.

The Decades

There are five decades, each made up of 10 beads. Between each decade is one large bead.

The prayers for each decade are repeated many times. As you say them over and over again, the opportunity will present itself to more deeply reflect on the meaning of the words. These words have been spoken for hundreds of years, and have likely gone through many iterations and versions as they were passed within and between Christian Communities.

Step 5: On the next large bead, pray the Our Father.


Step 6: On each small bead in the decade, pray the Hail Mary.

Step 7: In the space after the 10th bead, pray the Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer (a prayer Mary revealed to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, in 1917).

Repeat steps 5–7 for the remaining four decades. Pray an Our Father on the large bead and a Hail Mary on each of the 10 small beads, followed by the Glory Be and the Fatima Prayer.

As you pray the decades, you can also meditate on the mysteries of the rosary and learn valuable lessons from the lives of Jesus and Mary.

Closing Prayers

The closing prayers are prayed on the medal, and they end the rosary. With these prayers we ask God and Mary to watch over us, guide us, and help us improve and fulfill our life's purpose.

Step 8: Pray the Hail, Holy Queen and the Rosary Prayer.

Step 9: While holding the crucifix, make the Sign of the Cross.

As with anything, practice makes perfect. Pray the rosary everyday and you will begin to know it by heart. There is a one of a kind energy that comes from reading or saying the Rosary.

As you practice, the cadence and structural sequence of the words will give way to a new space. This new space is where you can reflect on what is being said and allow new growth in your relationship with Mary and Jesus. This is what we might call "where the magic happens".

When this happens, and you emerge from the other side of the Rosary prayer, you'll be on your way to unlocking some potential you may have thought you never had.

I will post the prayers in a separate blog post for you to reference if needed.

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