The Rosary - What is Not Understood?

What are the Protestant issues with the Rosary, I long for these things to be cleared up.

Is it thought to be too focused on Mary?There are definitely more prayers to Mary
(in terms of quantity), but qualitatively the
Rosary is mostly focused on Jesus.
People don’t still think we use it to worship Mary, do they?The most we do in the Rosary in regard to Mary
is ask her to keep us in her prayers, to “pray for
us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”
I am BY FAR not looking to fight, but merely to provide yet one
more outlet for Protestants who don’t understand or simply re–
nounce the Rosary.

Maybe the Rosary is thought to be unbiblical? I can assure you that it is. Consider David & Goliath,
how many stones did David use? Five. How many cubits were the gallows from which the wicked
Haman hung? Fifty. How many Psalms? One Hundred & Fifty. Consider even Genesis 3 : 15 **… **
All Rosary Numbers. The Bible so clearly prefigures the Rosary and the use of it against the Devil.What about Genesis 3:15? Philo Judaeus, Flavius Josephus (both being
contemporary to Jesus), St. Jerome, even Moses Maimonides (12th Cen-
tury CE) all say that it is to be read that ***she ***will crush the Serpent’s head.
I really do just want to clear up any confusion about the Rosary, as it causes me great angst
[size=3]when people talk about the Rosary as something as thou[size=3]gh forb[size=3]idden, evil, Pagan, so fo[size=3]rth
[size=3]when I have almost every reason under the S[size=3]un to know that it[size=3]’[/size][/size][/size][/size][/size][/size]s good for ALL Christians to
use. If nothing else, information inquiry is also good.

Depends on the protestant you talk to.

For Lutherans, the only issues are the second part of the “Hail Mary” (“Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”) I’m sure the Blessed Virgin does pray for us, but typically Lutherans do not practice invocation. The second issue would be the Hail Holy Queen for similar reasons.
The Apostles Creed, Lord’s Prayer, Doxology (Glory be to the father…), etc. we use all the time. Here is an example of a Lutheran Rosary.

Now, some protestants just don’t care for meditative prayer ( what they call repetitive prayer), and some don’t care for the Apostles Creed. Others might have other reasons.


Along with what Jon points out, many of us have a “thing” against rote prayer, repetitive prayer, the use of counting beads, directing prayer toward anyone other that God even if just asking for intercession, etc… those of us that feel that way see these things as not being biblical. If you want a different protestant perspective written up in an article, you can look it up on “Got Questions?” as well.

Along these lines, does your faith community regularly pray the Lord’s Prayer, or do you consider it only an example of prayer, but not to be repeated regularly?


For Catholics, rosaries are pretty rudimentary, but for others that I’ve encountered, it would be more accurate to say they simply don’t know what it is. I have yet to encounter one protestant (I am the only Catholic in a protestant family, including extended) that knew that the beads were for keeping count. When I’ve mentioned that Jews and even Moslems have some form of counting (beads, knots, stones, etc), I generally just get a blank stare. It doesn’t really compute. The idea of intercessory prayer and devotional prayer are simply foreign concepts; I am referring to low-church protestants.

So then, what is it? If there has ever been any thought at all, it is generally “It just something those Catholics do”. I don’t experience people that are against the rosary, they just don’t know what it is and as they are not Catholic, it doesn’t apply to them so they don’t really care what it is.

Depends on the congregation (I’m not an “official” member of any organizational church). It seems to differ even amongst Methodist churches, non-denom’s, etc…

So I can only really speak to it on a personal level; I’ve never really been one to use the Lord’s Prayer as something that must be said or repeated, but rather, as you say an example of prayer (including who to pray to, what should and can be included, etc…). It’s a bit strange for me, though I see the benefit of saying one prayer together in the congregations I’ve attended as binding the people together in one accord. The short answer is that if I’m attending a congregation that does so, I’ll join in, but it’s is hard for me to really mean it as a prayer, if that makes sense… I almost feel it is more like a creed when all recited together.

That’s very often true. Praying the Rosary is not part of the Lutheran faith experience, though it is in other parts of the world, and is very much a part of our history, so many simply know little about it. Some of the traditional practices of Lutherans were lost in the crossing of the Atlantic to America, for any number of reasons.
Below is a picture of Martin Chemnitz, the great second generation Lutheran theologian. Notice what is in his hand.

I had a family member that was big on that website. As far as scriptural, there is little in the rosary that is not from scriptures, even more so as one looks at its history. But there are other prayers that Catholics do that are in scriptures, such as praying the hours and singing psalms but my experiences with protestantism haven’t yielded any of these either. My exposure to protestant prayer hasn’t generally really bore any resemblance to scripture at all. Usually, what I’ve experienced, involves repetition during a rather lengthy single prayer of phrases such as “Father God” and “we just lift up ____ to you” and such things. But maybe that’s just in my locality.

Thank you for sharing Jon. Is it a correct assumption on my part that you (Lutheran’s) would have more of a problem with the Hail Holy Queen over the second half of the Hail Mary? I assumed so for wording purposes over invocation purposes.


I think the general understanding is that it isn’t to be rote repetition. But, to be honest I go in for private prayer instead of public prayer. Blessings, thanksgiving, etc… I believe can be done in public, but actual beseeching types of prayers I believe should be reserved for private times. In that sense I’m actually a little bit more comfortable with rote public prayer than I am extemporaneous public prayer. Many protestants tend to preach when they pray and I don’t think that is what it is meant for. :o

I don’t think so, not that we necessarily like the wording of Hail Holy Queen :o. As a general rule, we will avoid any reference to invocation of the Blessed Virgin and the saints. We know they pray for us, but we simply don’t practice the request for intercession that invocation represents. OTOH, we would just say “* our life, our sweetness and our hope*” is in Christ, not his mother, wonderful though she may be.
Will we sing a song of praise for her? Sure. As Luther said, she is the " highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ . . . She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified."


Thanks. I suspect yours might be representative of the stance of, as you say, many non-denoms, and perhaps other evangelicals. Funny how different that is from our perspective, considering Luther spends an entire section of the Small Catechism on it.


Excellent question! :clapping:

When “rote” prayer is said from the heart, it becomes heartfelt prayer.

For a non-apostolic perspective I don’t have anything against pleading with God. When I’m in desperation and begging God for help I’ll sometimes repeat my plea over and over like the woman to the unrighteous judge. However, setting a certain number of times one has decided to say a prayer to a person seems less sincere.

To think, “I’m going to ask Mary amount of times” I don’t see how this is beneficial or sincere. How tracking how many times I am going to pray somehow helps my prayer seems superstitious to me.

Thanks for the post. I think this is what the OP is asking for - misunderstanding of what a Rosary prayer is.

Rosary is not only about the amount of times of asking Mary because it is not exactly just an intercessory prayer. Going with it more productively, it is also a comptemplative prayer - time spent with the Lord. Hence it is rather how much time we are willing to pray.

How is it could be a comtemplative prayer? Not sure if this is covered in this thread, but yes, it could.

I get what you mean; the number derives from the ancient practice of singing the psalms. This is why there is 150 Salutations of Mary (Hail Marys). Because illiteracy levels were high and books (psalm) were expensive, using shorter prayers like the salutations or Our Fathers allowed the communities to pray in a form like the religious monks, etc.

The great thing about the rosary is that is so widespread. I pray, sure, but more importantly, I can pick up my rosary now and probably will be joining any number of others worldwide at any given time. How many prayers is God hearing lifted up to him in unison right now? 50, 500, 5000? So yes, it is for private devotion but it is also communal at the same time.

I understand, but shouldn’t one go and pray to God and spend as much time with Him as one’s conscience desires? I can spend three hours with my God but only because my love for Him. How is pre-planning “tomorrow I will say amount of prayers followed by [Y] number of prayers the next day.” While directing them to Mary beneficial?

I’m not denying its history or the amount partaking, but I fail to see its benefit. I should pray based on only where my heart is at and not a pre-set amount of prayers. That’s not to say the rosary is not sincere, but I don’t see its benefit over approaching (God) for prayers without a set time spent and set amount of things said.

As a cradle Catholic but who knows the Lord through the action of the Holy Spirit in the Charismatic Renewal, at one point in time we were quite ‘Biblical Christian’. We suddenly discovered the beauty of being able to pray spontaneously, praying from the heart in our own words and language, and what are in our heart we speak them out. That set prayers like the Our Father and Hail Mary are not popular with us because they are already prepared by someone else, not from our hearts. Thus saying this kind of prayer is rather unreal so it seemed for us.

It did not take long for me to realize that though it is good to pray from the heart spontaneously, and I still do it most of the time, I also know that I am limited to verbalize what is in my heart. Funny because at times I do not know exactly what is in my heart – it is so complex and so unknowable. Our hearts are such at times. We are troubled and we lacked the knowledge to know the source of our trouble. Of course we can ask God and God will tell us but Jesus also tells us the perfect prayer – the Lord Prayer. Over the years as I understand the scope of the Lord’s Prayer, I could make it my own. And when I say it, it has become my own prayer that brings out the innermost cry of my heart and yet comforted knowing that the Lord approves of this prayer.

I realize that they are not ‘rote’ prayer, anything can be rote prayers for that matter, but a tool, a very valid tool of a prayer and a compliment in where I am insufficient that the Lord has given me a prayer to say, contemplate and reflect on; and I am so much the better and thankful to have inherited these prayers.

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