A hand holding a rosary, with the miraculous medal on show
Hello there Mary-loving friends! Sometimes we feel daunted by the Rosary because we think it’s a very long prayer. But how long does it take to pray the Rosary?

It depends how you look at it.

You could say it’s a fairly brisk prayer. One Rosary is merely 5 Meditations on the life of Christ, each of which is accompanied by 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and 1 Glory Be.

For the 5 Meditations, therefore, that’s a total of 5 Our Fathers, 50 Hail Marys and 5 Glory Bes. That’s one Rosary. The Church recommends merely one Rosary a day.

However, from another point-of-view, this is a long time. Even just praying 50 Hail Marys in a row would take a good 10-15 minutes. Add in the other elements and you’ve got a Rosary which could take as much as 20 minutes.

But let us be reminded that we don’t have to pray the Rosary in one go. You can spread it throughout the day.

You can speed it up

You can also speed it up. You don’t need to pray the Rosary slowly, or even use your voice and vocal chords. You can pray it faster, so long as it’s not so fast that you can bearly follow anymore. Because then you aren’t praying, you’re just acting like a chanting machine.

So far as I am aware, the Church doesn’t have any strict guidance on how fast is too fast. People pray all sorts of different speeds, depending on all sorts of reasons.

I’ve been to Orthodox Christian services where they pray very fast. This is because they have SO MUCH to get through, such as reciting 10 or more Psalms in one go.

I’ve listened to many recordings of the Rosary being recited, and everyone prays it at different speeds, but the quickest I came across was probably around 12 minutes.

Go at a speed you are comfortable with, and don’t go with a speed you are uncomfortable with.

But a faster Rosary can be prayed easily in 15 minutes, perhaps a little quicker. A slower Rosary will take 5 or 10 more minutes.

It also depends on what you choose to incorporate into your recitations. If you use Scripture passages, then it’s obviously going to take longer.

What suffices for an adequate Rosary?A woman's hands clutching a rosary made of white stones

The minimal requirements for reciting the Rosary sufficiently are:

  • You meditate on the mysteries, even if this is a simple ‘announcement’ of the mystery
  • You pray the prayers (the Our Fathers, the Hail Marys, the Glory Bes.)
  • You are not willfully distracted

You should also bring your heart and sincerity. This goes a long way. I’m often not very happy with my Rosary recitations, but all I know is that I give it a shot. I tried.

Sometimes I find it helpful to ask myself: ‘Well, did I pray all the prayers? Did I meditate on the mysteries? And did I avoid wilful distraction?’ If yes to these questions, then it was an adequate recitation.

Note that wilful distraction does not mean that someone pulled out in front of you as you were driving your car whilst praying your Rosary. Nor does it mean that your child started crying. None of this is wilful distraction.

Wilful distraction is pulling your phone out and going on Facebook whilst you’re praying. This is a disrespectful way to treat God.

The time is often relative

One more thing to consider here is that ‘time’ is often relative. Einstein proved this scientifically, and it holds true with prayer. Einstein said: ‘Let me explain relativity to you. You spend the day with a girl you love and the time flies. That’s relativity.’

Likewise, if you pray the Rosary in a manner you enjoy, then time will go faster, even if technically you take longer.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to pray the Rosary slower and more meditatively, then it will take longer, but you may not notice it taking longer. Time may seem to go by faster as you step more powerfully into God’s presence.

The reverse is true too: sometimes I find that my fastest Rosaries are the longest, simply because I’m not as focused or enjoying it as much.

Good advice

It is good advice to just do it, to just get it done: pray the Rosary in season and out of season.

If this happens to be the devotion Mary has called you too, then it is a good idea to try to stick with it. Even if you don’t do a very good job, you can but try. And God looks at the heart.

If you have any questions, please let me know and I’ll try to get back to you asap.

God bless 🙂

6 Replies to “How Long Does it Take to Pray the Rosary?”

  1. Hi Matthew,

    When I was a young person, we went through a phase of the family going to church where the services were in Polish to say the Rosary during May. I seem to remember that being about 20 minutes. It took much longer to actually drive to the church and then back home again than being in church.

    This article got me wondering about whether it’s longer to say the Rosary in different languages.

    Because of that question, I then decided to look at some YouTube mysteries.

    I noticed some videos advocating doing all 4 mysteries, but some advocating 20 decades. Could you explain the difference, please? If there is one?


    All the best, Julia

    1. I imagine the time it takes in the different languages is roughly the same. Perhaps some cultures or languages are naturally faster paced, but I expect overall similarity between them all.

      I think the videos you found are saying the same thing in different ways. 

      No-one would advocate doing 4 mysteries only of the rosary because this would only be 4/5ths of one rosary. Which makes no sense, you would just pray the last mystery and complete the 5 decades: one rosary.

      The entire Rosary is 4 times as much as this – 20 decades long (or 20 mysteries). And I think that’s what the person was getting at who recommended praying 4 ‘mysteries’ a day. I think they meant 4 rosaries.

      1 Rosary = 5 mysteries = 5 decades (takes between 15-20 minutes)

      4 Rosaries = 20 mysteries = 20 decades (takes between one hour and one hour and a half)

      The first is generally recommended by the Church because it’s easier for busy, working people.

      The latter is sometimes recommended for religious people (nuns, monks) and the elderly. 

      Some pray much more than this. I know one Catholic lady who doesn’t even know how many she prays in one day. 

      It’s almost an addictive prayer. Once you get beyond a certain point, it becomes much easier to just carry on.

      In fact, a few years ago, I wrote on Facebook ‘The more I pray the Rosary, the more I want to pray it!‘ Those simple words garnered 10,000 likes and hearts in total. I couldn’t believe it. This resonated so much with so many people.

      God bless you.

  2. Wow it’s interesting to see an article about praying the Rosary, it’s the first time I’ve this ever! Personally I used to pray the Rosary when I was a child as my family is very catholic but I’m more spiritual now. However, my aunt prays a lot and spend at least one hour every morning prating the Rosary with all the meditations. 

    1. Your Aunt must spend either a long time praying slowly or she perhaps prays more than 1 rosary in that hour. It should only take about 15-20 mins to pray 1 rosary, as I think I explain in the post.

      Who knows, maybe the Divine will call you back to this practice of your childhood sometime?

  3. I’m retired and I love walking in my backyard (several times around, depending on weather and other commitments) while praying a rosary, complete with scripture verses at each Hail Mary. There are a few times when I’ve been so immersed in contemplating/meditating on the life of Christ, that I find an hour has flown by, without being aware of it!

    1. Hey there. That sounds like a gorgeous devotion. I think greenery and gardens add to prayer because it’s all natural/creation. Do you know all those scripture verses off by heart then, and when you are supposed to say them, for which Hail Mary?

      Your experience with Christ in the Rosary is enviable 🙂

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