Posted by: gebs | September 28, 2007

Repetitive Prayer

Many people see the importance of prayer for any progress in the spiritual life but often they think that prayer need never be formal in character.  Many people cannot see for example the purpose of repeating words in some kind of order merely for the sake of praying.  They see this as being outdated, and often a misinterpretation of what it means to pray.   

Of course there are many ways to pray.  One cannot deny this, and indeed it is healthy to use all methods of prayer during the course of ones journey to spiritual purity and unity with the Creator.  But there are certain advantages to repetitive prayer – such as the rosary – that should not be denied.   

Perhaps the first thing that needs to be said is that the human mind needs to be taught how to pray.  In other words, prayer is like a conscious decision to make the mind think about certain things.  When we pray we are making ourselves think about something and trying to harmonise ourselves with whatever it is we are seeking.  Repetitive prayer is a good way of disciplining to mind.  Without it we often find ourselves following whatever it is our mind wants us to follow.  No other form of prayer disciplines the mind like repetitive prayer.     

The rosary has infinite rewards.  The point I am trying to make here is that we should not deny the place of repetitive prayer in our lives. When the disciples asked Jesus what they should say when praying, he did not answer them by stating that they should use their own words and pray for whatever it is they want.  He answered them by giving them a set prayer which became the prayer of all prayers (the Our Father).  Repeating this prayer everyday is therefore a good way of teaching ourselves what true prayer should be like.   

This is not to deny the place of all other forms of prayer in our lives, such as meditation or the use of mantras.     

See also this


  1. >No other form of prayer disciplines the mind like repetitive prayer.

    Did Jesus not say not to babble as the pagans do, who think they are heard for their many words? God HATES repetitve prayer, it is form and ritual, and faithless and dead. Rosary beads can be idolatrous and incite God’s anger, NOT bring you closer to him.

    If you want to be heard by God, then approach the throne of God boldly through faith, after having accepted the finished work of Christ on the cross and repenting of your sins and recieving new life. THEN prayer can be alive and powerful and achieve much. This is the way to recieve miracles.

  2. First of all I would like to thank you for reading my blog and leaving a comment. Thanks.

    I think your argument is flawed for a number of reasons. Firstly, you assume God can HATE! There is no evil in God, and God does not hate any one of us, regardless of what it is we do. God’s mercy is beyond hate. Only if you truly think repetitive prayer, and the institutions which favour it, are EVIL, are you then able to use such words and ideas, and I think you do. Do not have evil in your heart.

    “And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words” (Mt 6:7). I think this is the verse you are referring to when you start your comment. Here there is a warning about EMPTY words, this does not say anything about repetitive prayer. That is your assumption. The prayers we say in the rosary are not empty my brother/sister in Christ. They have a two thousand year tradition and their basic format is in the gospels. How can you claim that the Our Father is empty? Or the Hail Mary? Only if you deny the place of tradition, which you might also do. But even Jesus did not do this. He came to fulfil not to destroy (Mt 5:17).

    How can you dismiss rosary beads after the saints themselves have taught us otherwise? I take it you will also have a different view on sainthood.

    There is more I would like to say but will not for the sake of brevity. Your site is very dense and I look forward to reading some of it as time goes on. Thanks again for your comments and I ask you to keep me in your prayers as I endeavour to keep you in mine. We should pray that we do not allow ourselves to take pride in our faith. We have met for a reason and it is God that allows us to see why.

  3. God can hate. God hates sin. God doesn’t hate sinners but he does hate sin.

    • Fair comment. But whatever God is, he is to the full. As St Aquinas describes best, God is perfect, and whatever exists in God exists in perfection. Even though God can fight against sin, God can in no way be evil (sin) himself (because the perfection of hate, and sin, is nihilsm). My original post was about repetitive prayer, which is not a sin, but rather a prescription by the very God we speak about. The flawed mentality that sees otherwise, is also the reason why people are so quick to prescribe hate as an ’emotion’ to God. So, the last sentence of your comment seems to speak more truth than the first.

  4. I believe that whether we say repetitive prayers or just tell God how our day went he is pleased. As long as we are sincerely seeking to contact him and have a relationship with him. He sees our hearts and our intentions and knows everything about us. He doesn’t expect us to get everything right. He’s our father and he loves us just the way we are. Do you or would you expect your children to get everything right? We’re not perfect at least not yet. Love God, Love Others. Peace

  5. The issue about prayer is realy nothing to divide about because it does not affect salvation. Our relationship with G-d is personal.who are we to tell someone else how they should pray?let us not give the enemy joy in our petty differences.we are all one body if we are beleivers in Jesus.

    • I would argue that prayer does indeed affect our salvation by determining who we are on a day to day basis and what relationship we have with the Divine, or the One we hope to see at our death. Prayer is crucial for the spiritual life and defines who we are as spiritual beings. We cannot be spiritual without prayer and the manner in which we pray is very important. Our relationship with God is more that personal, it affects everyone on our lives by defining who we are, our families and our world. we need to get it right.

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