Terrible thoughts when Praying the Rosary


I suffer with OCD and religious scrupulosity. This last few days I have been tortured with scrupulous thoughts when praying especially the Rosary. I have been praying to be a better person and asking for Our Lady’s help and praying for the church at this present time. Tonight I had terrible thoughts while praying the Rosary during each mystery it almost caused me to stop but I forced myself to finish but I can’t help but feel I should say it again? Yesterday I was gardening and a neighbour I’m not particularly friendly with passed by and I thought to myself “I need to let go of any blindness I feel and be more like Jesus would” and then a curse came into my head and Our Lord’s name. It felt so real I have been worrying that it was me thought those things or God thinks I think them.

I can’t help but feel satan is trying to stop me praying or making it really hard by distracting me? Is that crazy? It was almost impossible to meditate on the Rosary tonight, anyone else have these problems praying? Thanks for kind advice in advance.


I have been down this road. I have suffeered from obsessive horrible intrusive thoughts in the past. You have to learn to let go of your thoughts like this. Recognize a thought as intrusive and know that it’s not you. You are not your thoughts, especially the ones you don’t want. If you focus on these thoughts and judge yourself negatively, then you will only make them occur more frequently because you are essentially training your brain to give you an intrusive thought so you get a dopamine response when you do a ritual that makes you feel better and less guilty for having the thought. Just treat them as clouds and let them pass right on by without giving them judgement.


oh yes. The enemy is trying to stop you. He makes us believe those immediate thoughts define who we really are instead of the invasive persistent thoughts they are. I used to have them and they were bad so I felt terrible but one day I sort of said “eh this is not me” and when the word or thought came back I said God you know my heart. He does and our minds unfortunately trick us frequently, our souls are being purified by prayer, keep up the battle and keep praying. Dismiss those thoughts as foreign and unimportant. They will go away. God bless you


Amen! My mother used to say EXACTLY that. I was a kid when this happened and she said those thoughts are like passing dark clouds, just let them pass and don’t dwell. They are not here to stay.


Intrusive thoughts can be a part of OCD. There are many people who suffer from this and scrupulousity. You must address this with a mental health professional.

Your intrusive thoughts are not sins. They’re not welcome and are just passing. You don’t need to confess them…you are suffering from a mental disorder and just need some help to deal with it.

Please seek help in real life from a therapist and/or a priest who has experience with these disorders.

God bless!


Religious scrupulosity is the same thing as OCD. If you give up your faith and become an atheist your distressing thoughts will continue, only they will be about something else. If you become a Jain you will worry you accidentally killed an insect. If you do not have medical help, get it.


But not all OCD is scrupulosity.


Correct we all tons of thoughts that run through our heads during the day. Some of them can be very intrusive or bizarre. The key is not to entertain terrible thoughts at least not for very long.


That’s what I say to myself too :slight_smile: God you know my heart.


When thoughts come to me while I am praying that I think are intrusive, I pray into them, rather than resist them. So I turn the devil’s trick against him. I am seeking God’s blessing and intercession into the very element that was going to derail me.


Whenever I have some really bad thoughts, I say (silently or out loud) “Be gone, Satan, in the name of Jesus and His precious blood, be gone.” It has never failed me.


Talk to a priest, talk to a therapist


This is common to have such distractions. I find that my emotions play a big role. One strategy I use is to listen to recorded rosaries such as are available in youtube,com. There are rosaries with and without music, rosaries with and without a lot of meditations."

When I do that, it is necessary to focus on the words that are being said, which is sometimes difficult because of the speed of the talking.

But, a most important consideration is to remember that in prayer you are talking to a person, and you should focus your attention as if that person was physically present.

Dr Ray Gaurendi of EWTN “the doctor is in” quipped that he’s only prayed two rosaries in his life when he did not have any distractions.

I look at it as a challenge to improve the quality of prayer by repeated practice – getting better at it, not getting frustrated by failures. On EWTN there are some rosary programs that sound like they are played at accelerated speeds, to fir into the TV time schedule.

Try out different recorded rosaries from youtube, if you want to go that way.


I would read Praying the Rosary Like Never Before by Edward Sri.

You should also pray on this matter and continue to seek spiritual direction for these struggles.

Jesus loves you.



Cor.10;5. Casting down all thoughts that are wrong


Do not be troubled. Your suffering reminds me of a painting I once saw. It’s called “My Divine Heart” after the miracle of Saint Margaret Mary. Do you know the story… The revelation of the Sacred Heart? Christ came to Margaret Mary his heart so inflamed with love that it was no longer able to contain its burning flames of charity. Margaret Mary… so filled with divine love herself, asked the Lord to take her heart… and so he did placing it alongside his until it burned with the flames of his passion. Then he restored it to Margaret Mary sealing her wound with the touch of his blessed hand. Your prayers are precious to the Lord since you must suffer so to offer them. Do not fear that suffering. Rather, embrace it and be embraced in it.


Re: an earlier comment –

Scruples is not exactly the same as OCD. It’s pretty common for people to have brief scruples attacks (less than a week) and then never to have them again, whereas OCD is a chronic condition. They are extremely similar and often come together, but they do differ in other ways (scruples is just about religious things, whereas OCD can be about anything and everything; and scruples is partly a spiritual problem and partly psychological, whereas OCD is primarily psychological).

Anyway… intrusive thoughts are common, as everybody has been saying. The nastier they are, the more you just ignore them. Like passing clouds, or muddy leaves and sticks floating down a stream. Ignoring them as pointless really does make them go away.

(Trying to “not think” about something is ineffective – like the old story of trying to “not think about a blue elephant.” If you take that approach, you’ll only be able to think of a blue elephant.)


Yes. I think the devil is having some fun with you. Just keep going despite the difficulty. Prayer won’t always result in consolation.


You are trying to pray well, and to do well. Of course Satan wants to stop you. These terrible thoughts are his attempt to discourage you. Keep on praying, and may God reward you richly for your devotion.


Pray to St Michael. Ask him to guard your mind and your thoughts.

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