What is the point of repetitive prayers?

I have noticed that some prayers ask for the repitition of certain prayers (eg:say the Our Father or Hail Mary 3 times).

To me,repetition just feels like a chore and makes me more distracted away from contemplating the words of what I am praying.

What is the right way of praying these prayers please?

What is the right way…? Maybe slowly and mindfully would help? Meditate on the line or verse to try to understand the full meaning or at least a deeper meaning. Quality not quantity. Stay safe.

Repetitive prayers are not meant to be prayed on their own. They are meant to lead us into other prayer. They serve as a way to enter meditation, and to enter the right mindset, in order to begin other prayer.

God bless.

I think repetition helps to have it more ingrained into our souls. For some reason prayer, including repetitive prayer, seems pleasing to God…at least certain kinds.

Look at some of the psalms. Take Psalm 136: 1-26, “…for his steadfast love endures forever” is repeated 26 times!

We know that Christ prayed the same prayer, using the same words, again and again that this cup might pass from him, but each time he said that not his will but that of the Father (Matthew 26:44)

Of course there is the Book of Revelations 4:8 where the Four Living Creatures sing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come!” Scripture tells us they say this night and day! So apparently, there is a purpose to this even if we may not know it.

With the rosary, for instance, or chaplets, it’s been said every prayer is a rose, hence the name, “Rosary”. In the end, it forms a crown of flowers.

The Blessed Virgin gave St. Dominic the rosary and 15 promises with it. Yes, it’s very repetitive, but we are assured these prayers are pleasing to her and God. So personally, I have days my attention wanders, and I think most people do have moments where they are thinking of what happened during the day, what will happen later on, etc. Each time, we gently bring our attention back to the prayer.

I personally believe each time we pray a rosary, we are doing what Our Lady asked us to do at so many apparitions. We know the saints often prayed rosary after rosary after rosary, not being content to pray just one!

Some say the rosary will be the chain to bind Satan.

I think just realizing that repetitive prayer can be so pleasing to God might help one persist.

I like Fulton Sheen’s explanation: a young woman once approached him and complained that the Rosary was “repetitive”.

He asked her whether she would object if her fiance said “I love you” to her repeatedly. :smiley:

The repetition is an affirmation of faith, hope and love, and is to be prayed in that spirit.

What’s the point of telling my wife I lover her?

Wasn’t once enough.:eek:

You beat me to it.:thumbsup:

Great minds, they say… :D:thumbsup:

Yes,but if you told her once or twice a day she would be happy but if you told her repetitively 5 times in a matter of minutes everyday wouldn’t she maybe become annoyed?

How do you make it not feel tedious or like a ritual?

False comparison. Who says the Hail Mary throughout the day, every 5 minutes, except perhaps some advanced contemplatives or hermits? Why not engage with what Fulton Sheen said, and what the Rosary actually is, instead of knocking down a strawman? :wink:

In the time of the OT, numbers were critical to how people thought, and what they perceived to good and bad.
Seven was considered a number of perfection, hence the diminished value of six. Three was considered a very holy number (even before the Trinity was mentioned specifically in prayers).
Hence the incredibly bad value to 3 sixes (666)

There’s a whole thing to the numbers and their meaning in that ancient culture.
Read up on it.
I had a priest Monsignor tell me that we pray in threes because three is a mystical number.

I can think of many prayers in formal prayer that are in threes.

It’s an ancient practice. And no, God certainly doesn’t get annoyed with our prayers.
Remember the woman who kept begging the judge for a favorable ruling? Worked for her.

YES they can be “prayed on their own”

Such is a very old practice in the Church.

Ritual is good! :slight_smile:

How not to feel tedious?

One is praying to God or to a Saint not just saying the words -that is important to continue to keep in mind to help it from becoming so.

And remember too that there are all sorts of ways of praying.

Good reading from the Catechism:



And a very good Spiritual writer here on prayer:



OP, are you perhaps referring to the leaflets and prayer cards that sometimes people leave in church porches, usually for St. Jude, promising a favourable answer (even saying ‘never known to fail’) if a certain number of prayers are said , or one every hour for nine hours, or similar?

Take no notice of them - they are superstitious.

I can’t find my citations-- I think they were Gertrude, Agreda, and Liguori, respectively, but I could be wrong–

You can imagine that your prayers-- petition, adoration, contrition, thanksgiving-- are like a treasure chest. If you say a good, thoughtful prayer full of love, you can imagine that it’s like a diamond that goes into the treasure chest. If you don’t… well, they’re ordinary rocks. :slight_smile: By the end of your lifetime, how full is your treasure chest?

31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace.

The king with 20,000 men is God, and the king with 10,000 men is you. Maintaining the prayers = treasure symbolism, imagine that you must pay tribute to the stronger king. Will the stronger king ever tell you, “You’ve paid me enough?” :wink:

You can imagine that your prayers are each part of a feast that you’ve put together to honor the King. If you are attentive, it’s a magnificent feast, where the parts all work together to make a magnificent whole. If you’re inattentive— yeah.

One problem I find is that it can be hard to focus. What was recommended to me was to imagine yourself lying underneath a river. You see the boats passing above your head. The boats have your thoughts on them. If you have a distracting thought, you let it pass down the river and out of sight, and continue to focus on your prayers.

Another difficulty is that the repetition lends itself to meditation… but often I find myself meditating on my to-do list, my Christmas list, my grocery list… :slight_smile: How many layers of thought can you keep going concurrently? Give each level of your attention something to focus on. Say your prayers with your voice. Pay attention to the meaning of your prayers with one level of thought. Contemplate the mysteries with another level of thought-- walk through them as though you’re living them. There are some meditations that offer a different meditation for each prayer within the decade-- give that a layer of thought, too. If you have spare levels of thought, use one of them to contemplate your intentions, or the people you wish to help through your intercession, or praise or thanksgiving or honor. And so on.

Good luck.

Our Lady along with many Popes think quite highly of repetitive prayer, such as the rosary. That’s all I need to know.

Right. It’s not superstition.
“Pray unceasingly”.

Maybe I should re-word that answer. These prayers are often not prayed on their own. I forget what it’s called, but there’s a prayer method in which one begins with vocal (pre-written) prayer- often repetitive- and then enters into meditative and contemplative prayer, God willing.

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