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Rote Prayers: Do They Serve a Purpose?

July 3, 2017

Rote Prayers Here’s my confession: I have never been good at memorizing rote prayers, beyond the basics. My prayer life, historically, has been one of a free-flowing style, telling God what is on my mind. Within my prayer life, I seek His direction. Yet, I never said rote prayers beyond the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. That was, until one day, after having a serious conversation about prayer with a priest friend of mine.

The Value of Rote Prayers

Father Benjamin helped me to see the value of rote prayers, as well as their importance. When we can’t find the right words to communicate our feelings, rote prayers rescue us, and assist us in opening our hearts to the Lord. For months prior to this conversation with Father Benjamin, I had been seeking God’s direction for my life, and have heard silence in return. It was quite frustrating to say the least.

My Journey in Prayer

I decided to give some rote prayers a try. In the process, I memorized the Apostles Creed, the Fatima Prayer, and the Hail Holy Queen. I also memorized the mysteries of the Rosary. Now I can say a daily rosary without looking at instructions. I didn’t stop there. In addition to the Rosary, I decided to memorize the Divine Mercy Chaplet. This stems from my reading the Diary of Saint Faustina, and learning of Jesus’ desire (per Saint Faustina), that we should say the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily. I didn’t stop there. I came across a prayer card with the Prayer of Saint Gertrude, and wanted to memorize that prayer so that I could say it daily as well. You see, Saint Gertrude claims that Jesus told her, via a vision, that every time this prayer is said, 1,000 souls will be released from Purgatory and gain entrance to Heaven. Wow! Who wouldn’t want that?

What Have Rote Prayers Taught Me?

What have I learned from this experience? I learned that my rote prayers can speak for me; that God understands my heart; my desires, regardless of how well I articulate them. After my daily prayer time, I am more at peace. Direction will come, in God’s time. In the meantime, His student continues her studies regarding prayer.

Thank you Father Benjamin for helping me to open my heart and mind to rote prayer. For, if I have learned anything, it is that rote prayers serve a wonderful purpose.

This post also appears on Association of Catholic Women Bloggers, and Top Catholic Blogs

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7 Responses to Rote Prayers: Do They Serve a Purpose?

  • Ginny, one of the things I love about rote or previously printed prayers is knowing that, since time and space don’t matter, I automatically have at least one prayer partner when praying them. I highly recommend them for those insomniacal nights too. 🙂

    • Great point Mary! Thanks for sharing. I’m curious to learn what others think about rote prayers and how they might be of assistance to people during times of aridity.

      • Ginny, another thought…. During worship services, my husband and I used to pray at the altar railing for people who came up for prayer. The less I knew about a person or situation, the better I liked it since this made me totally dependent on listening for whatever God brought to mind. One day, however, I needed to go up for prayer! The elderly man praying for people at the railing that day read in monotone from his little prayer book, and yet, the words spoke to me, setting something troubled at rest.

  • Thanks for these insights. I’m so grateful for the structure of rote prayer. After memorizing the Anima Christi I find myself ever captivated by its intimate beauty. After receiving Eucharist, if I notice a wandering mind, this prayer takes me right to His heart!

    • Hi Peggy: Thanks for sharing! And what a wonderful idea that you suggest! I think I should make the Anima Christi the next prayer that I try to memorize. It is a beautiful, intimate prayer. – Peace, Ginny

  • While I understand where you are coming from, in terms of a more free-flowing praying person… When my husband was in Iraq, I learned how important rote prayers were to me. I could remember them if I woke up panicked. I could remember them when I was alone.. or when my toddler was being a pain, etc.

    I think there is room for both types of prayer in our prayer lives.
    Love your post.

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