A man kneeling on a chair, praying silently to God
Hello there Rosary lovers! I hope you are doing great 🙂 In this post we will answer the question: Can I pray the Rosary in my head?

The short answer is YES, you can. I asked this very question ages ago when it became impossible for me to pray the rosary daily using my vocal chords.

From Miming to Mind

My usual way of praying up until 2 years ago was always to mime the words. Whatever prayers I was praying, praying in my mind was always very difficult for me and unnatural. However, I struggled a lot with praying using my voice, even very quietly. It would result in a lot of discomfort for my throat.

On numerous occasions, I ended up getting an ulcar in my throat as a result. These were painful and made praying with any kind of use of my vocal chords unpleasant.

In short, I had to find a way to pray without using any miming or any use of my mouth at all.

So I got online and did some research about praying in my mind. Is it legitimate to pray the Rosary this way? That’s what I wanted to know.

I came away with the conclusion that yes, this is absolutely fine.

Of course, it should be taken for granted that praying in your mind is 100% legit and acceptable if you cannot pray using your vocal chords or mouth. That’s a total given, since God never asks us to do what we cannot do, only what we can do. It’s always worth remembering this all important Catholic principle.

However, even without any issue, even if you could pray with your mouth and vocal chords, the bottom line is that it is still acceptable for you to choose to pray in your mind.

People should pray as they feel most comfortable. And what works for you may not work for someone else. If praying the Rosary in your head helps you concentrate better, or helps you commune with God more effectively, then go for it!

What the Church says about praying in your mind

Researching how to pray the Divine Office also helped. I knew the Church obligated all priests to pray the Divine Office daily. But what I discovered was that there is no obligation for priests to mouth the words or say them audibly. It is sufficient for priests merely to READ the words of the Divine Office daily.

I even asked a priest about this and this was his own practice, though he said it’s more than simply reading, it’s also talking to God. It’s hard to explain. He also prays the Rosary this way.

I discovered many people pray the Rosary simply in their minds, without ever miming the words or saying them audibly.

I read somewhere of one nun who couldn’t even pray the Rosary herself for a long time because she was suffering so much. So she asked Mary to pray it for her.

I read in St Louis de Montfort’s amazing book ‘The Secret of the Rosary’ that it is fine to pray the Rosary silently, just in your mind.

And then I saw that in the Church’s official document on Indulgences (Enchiridion on Indulgences), it is enough for us when praying if someone ELSE prays and we merely follow along in our minds.

This is useful if you wish to use a prerecorded Rosary recitation, as I do often (see this link).

This same document on Indulgences also states that we get a partial indulgence if we spend some time in mental prayer.

All in all, there was just no way to be certain that praying the Rosary in one’s mind meant you benefit less from it, or don’t get the indulgences attached to it.

On the contrary, it seemed that praying the Rosary in one’s mind was a common practice, and one which the Church doesn’t mind.

The Confraternity of the Rosary

Please remember, also, that there is a universal Confraternity of the Rosary, which goes back many centuries. Many saints have been – and still are – part of it.

Any Catholic can join this Confraternity, so long as you just try to pray 3 rosaries a week. That’s all that is required, and failing to keep to it IN NO WAY means you have sinned. You simply try to attempt to do this weekly.

Many of us pray more than 3 rosaries every, single day.

The beauty of being part of the Confraternity is that the question of this post almost becomes pointless. Because simply by being a member of the Confraternity, you gain ALL the spiritual blessings of the entire Confraternity, and of the ENTIRE Dominican order – just because you are a member!!

Is there any financial fee to join? NO!

I mean, this is like winning the spiritual lottery!!

In other words, the OTHER members can carry you by their prayers. The millions of recitations of the rosary all over the world benefit YOU individually constantly. So you hardly need to do anything, other than just try to pray 3 rosaries a week.

Contemplation – the Highest Form of Prayer

Lastly, St Therese of the Child Jesus said that prayer is a silent lifting of the heart to God. This has been taken up by the Church officially in her Catechism, and so it is part of official Catholic teaching. This is the highest form of prayer, it is contemplation, where prayer goes even beyond words.

So it would seem that praying the Rosary in complete silence is indeed an extremely noble way to pray it.

Perhaps this is even the most perfect way to pray it.

Prayer and the Heart

My priest once told me, ‘God isn’t interested in particulars so much; he’s interested in your heart.’ This is exactly what Holy Scripture teaches us in 1 Samuel 16:7: God looks at the heart, not the outward appearance.

We tend to fixate on rules, regulations, laws and external commands. This is not the higher way of the New Testament order. Rules are vital, of course they are, but LOVE needs no commands.

This is the era of the Holy Spirit, and the eternal Law of God has been written on the fleshly tables of our hearts.

The Holy Spirit is in our hearts and he cries ‘Abba, Father,’ to God all the time from within us. All we need to do is step into that. Which means going within ourselves and finding the place of the heart, finding God within us.


So I concluded that there is no issue with praying the Rosary in your head or mind, especially if this is the only way you can pray consistently.

If you ARE perfectly able to pray the Rosary audibly, or by moving your mouth a little, or miming the words, then PERHAPS it would be a good practice for you to do that.

But I really don’t know. I think God and the Church just want us to pray, whatever that looks like for each of us.

I hope you found this post helpful.

At rosarylovers.com, we are affiliates of a company that produces amazing rosaries, and I suggest you take a look at them and see if any might help you in your spiritual life.

God bless you, through Mary Immaculate, Queen of heaven and of earth!

2 Replies to “Can I Pray the Rosary in my Head?”

  1. Hello Matthew,
    Thank you for another great article! One thing that popped out for me was connecting with God and being with God. Not trying to say the “perfect” rosary.
    I have been struggling more lately completing my 4 rosaries a day . Either I get a lot of negative thoughts , or I am only thinking of getting it done, or I am overwhelmed and exhausted. I will definitely try this method when praying my rosary and see what happens.
    I do have a question when I say my petitions in the beginning of my rosary I feel like I am giving Mother Mary a long wish list of all my desires. But of course I always pray for my love ones and for others in world. However I feel so drained after stating my list , it’s longer than the apostles’ creed lol. What would be the best way to word my petitions where it is not so long and not always about me so to speak.
    I guess I feel like I need to be specific with God instead of trusting that God knows all.
    Thank you !
    God bless !

    1. Hello Jen! Great to meet you and thank you for getting in touch.

      No, you will probably never pray a perfect Rosary, so I personally would forget about even attempting that.

      Well done on trying to pray 4 rosaries a day. I’ve been struggling a lot with this recently, I’m not managing more than 2 or 3 a day at present. I only manage to do 4 every so often at present. Sadly, because it’s my favourite devotion by MILES.

      Such is life eh?

      If you get negative thoughts whilst praying the rosary, I would imagine this is common. I often get loads when I pray the Rosary. Awful thoughts from long ago. I ignore them. Don’t engage with them.

      It’s often the evil one, I think. He HATES the Rosary. I read about a priest who was attacked by a demon one night, but he simply managed to grab his rosary beads and the evil presence immediately bolted. That’s how powerful the rosary is and how much it can conquer the devil. But he’ll do all he can to stop us praying it. And demons can put thoughts into our heads.

      It’s natural to think of ‘getting it done’, if you’ve set yourself the goal of 4 a day. This would be the case no matter how many a day you’ve set yourself. Even if you set yourself just 1 a day, you would eventually struggle with trying to just get it done daily. It’s human nature.

      If you are overwhelmed and exhausted, I personally might pray about reducing the load. I suppose that one Our Father and one Hail Mary prayed really well just twice daily would be better than praying 4 rosaries reluctantly whilst exhausted and not really being engaged. Perhaps. God wants our hearts and perhaps there’s a time for 4 rosaries and a time for just 1 daily?

      During last Christmas, I came down with a number of chest infections and I couldn’t pray a single Hail Mary. No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t do it, my chest wouldn’t take it. So I had to alter my devotional life. Life happens, and we need to move with where God is leading. Sometimes he just wants us to be faithful with a simple devotion.

      I don’t know your situation, so I would encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit within you to guide you. Also, consecrate your spiritual life to St Joseph. Give him your spiritual and devotional life, no matter where he leads you, even if the devotion seems really small. He will show you.

      When I first came back to the Catholic faith in Summer 2020, I survived on simply two prayers a day. I eventually survived on 3 prayers a day. But it didn’t matter because these were extremely powerful consecration prayers to St Joseph and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and I REALLY prayed them from the heart. You can’t do better than that. Perhaps I ought to get back to that.

      One Our Father prayed from the heart with sincerity blots out ALL venial sins. So taught St Augustine. I imagine the Hail Mary does similar. It’s often not the amount we pray, but the prayers we pray and how sincere we are in praying them. The Stations of the Cross can take no more than 5 minutes to do in your local church, and yet by just doing that you get a PLENARY indulgence. You cannot acquire a plenary indulgence more simply or easily in the Church, so far as I know. So it’s not the shortness or simplicity of the practice, but the POWER of the practice and how well you engage with it that matters.

      Having said that, the Rosary is incredibly powerful and even though 4 rosaries takes a long time, the benefits in our lives and in the world must be truly unbelievable.

      If you wish to stick with the 4 rosaries a day, yes I recommend using a pre-recorded rosary. I find it much, much less tiresome, and frankly more enjoyable. You can look at pictures on the internet of the mystery as you are listening. Listening IS praying – we do this when we go to Mass. We do a lot of listening, and yet we are praying.

      Regarding your question, being specific in prayer CAN be helpful, but it can also become a problem. If we are doing this all the time, this can be a sign of scrupulosity, which the Church warns us against because it’s damaging to spiritual life. I’m not saying this is your issue, but it can be an issue if someone is trying to be specific all the time with God, fearing that God won’t answer if they don’t be as specific as possible. That, I think, would be an issue that needs to be dealt with. Those are just my thoughts, but it’s worth offering this issue to your priest if it continues to bother you, or hinder you.

      Notice how general the Lord’s Prayer is though. Notice also how often the Church merely guides us to offer someone or something briefly to God and then to offer an Our Father or Hail Mary for that person. We don’t go into all specific details about that person and their problems, at least not often. We often just say: ‘For so and so: Hail Mary …’. If God hears those prayers, why not prayers for ourselves when we are general and vague? It’s a good guide to follow I think.

      However, it can be helpful to be specific in prayer at times. If something is bothering us considerably, it can help US to be specific about it in prayer. But note: this doesn’t help God. God knows it all anyway. God doesn’t miss A THING. Not one thing. No matter what we say or don’t say. God knows what we need FAR better than we do, and it’s often what we don’t see or say or recognise that is most what we need. God knows this.

      So being specific is to help US, and that is all. If you feel it may help you to be specific, then be specific.

      I really don’t know the content of your prayers, so I can only offer these thoughts and hope they are a help and not a hinderance. I didn’t expect to write so much in response.

      But hopefully it’s from the Heart of Mary to you and your situation.

      God bless you!!

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