Ask a Franciscan

Praying Quickly or Slowly? 

Person walking a dog in the winter

A friend of mine says that she can pray an entire rosary while walking her dog around the yard. I know the size of her yard and don’t think I could pray one decade in that amount of time.  

In my younger days, I could move rather rapidly through the rosary, saying all the right words without skipping a bead. Now I wouldn’t call those “prayerful moments.” I uttered all the right words, but it was more verbal chatter than words expressing my heart and soul. Does the speed of praying make a difference? 

There is no prize for the person who finishes most quickly. Now you can make more connections between your life and the rosary’s mysteries than you could as a child. What truly matters is whether a prayer is opening you up to the movement of God’s grace in your heart. 

Jesus told his disciples not to “babble like the pagans” (Mt 6:7) or to pray in order to be noticed (Mt 6:5–6). The speed with which one prays is not as important as the honesty and the compassion fostered by prayer. 

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