A small, concise rosary with wooden beads and a simple cross

It’s the 21st century, already 2022 (at the time of writing)! We’re busy and let’s be honest, most of us don’t pray much. Prayer is hard, but we all have to start somewhere.

In this post we will look at how to pray a rosary quickly but effectively. No cheating, fully compliant with the Church, but definitely faster than the usual methods.

How to Use Your Fingers to Pray the Rosary

Obviously it’s better to use some rosary beads when praying the Holy Rosary. You get extra indulgences for doing so.

But perhaps this isn’t an option. Perhaps you’re driving.

Perhaps you haven’t yet purchased a rosary. If not, you might wish to check out these beautiful rosaries. Hopefully that will help.

No worries for now. Just use your fingers until you can use some rosary beads.

Bend the index finger of either hand into your palm for the first Hail Mary, and then your second finger into your palm for the second Hail Mary, and so on. For the fifth Hail Mary, open you hand out.

For the sixth Hail Mary, bend the index finger into the palm again, and repeat through the rest of the fingers. Recite the 10th Hail Mary with your hand opened out again.

This is a very simple method of counting the Rosary prayers on your fingers.

Do the Quick Opening Prayers Option

If you want to pray the Rosary quickly, the last thing you want to do is take forever to begin the first meditation. The following is a perfectly acceptable opening for the Rosary:

  1. Do the sign of the cross.
  2. Recite: ‘Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.’
  3. Then recite: ‘O Lord, open my lips. And my mouth shall declare Your praise.’
  4. Followed by: ‘O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.’
  5. Say the Glory Be, followed by ‘Alleluia’.

I only ever use these opening prayers. I pray the entire 20 mysteries everyday and it shaves off a good minute or two by doing this opening instead of the usual one.

Fast Methods of Meditation on Each Mystery

Now you want to actually fulfill what is required of praying the Rosary. You need to meditate on each mystery, and you need to recite the words of the prayers.

So: meditation on the mysteries.

I have found numerous methods that are very fast for doing the meditations, some more effective than others, but all are sufficient.

Remember: all you need is to do sufficiently what’s required to gain indulgences and blessings. You don’t have to go above and beyond.

You don’t have to pray the Rosary perfectly, and will likely almost never pray it perfectly. So embrace your imperfection in praying it, and just get to it.

Grab your phone and search the title of the mystery on the internet, for e.g. ‘The Resurrection’. Click images, and a tonne of awesome images will come up.

These images provide no end of meditative material as you Hail Mary your way through the Rosary. I pray the Our Father and the 10 Hail Marys as I flick through each image.

This is one of the fastest methods of praying the Rosary, and it happens to be the best way to meditate on the mysteries because it’s using lots of different pictures.

At Fatima, the Virgin Mary told the visionaries that when praying the Rosary, they should form an image in their mind of the mystery. Using the imagination is the Virgin’s own method for praying the Rosary.

We live in a day when we can have the internet do this for us. In a moment, we can access the finest Catholic images ever painted/drawn to help us as we pray the Rosary. Amazing, isn’t it?

However, you don’t always have ready access to your phone. So what then?

A fast method to meditate on the mysteries without any images is to recite a few words after ‘Jesus’ in the middle of each Hail Mary.

For instance, suppose you are praying the mystery of the Miracle at Cana. You would pray: ‘Hail Mary full of grace … And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus – who turns water into wine. Hail Mary, Mother of God …’

Feel free to change the words, or say whatever you like, so long as the words somewhat help remind you of the mystery at hand.

Another fast method if you are really pressed for time is to simply recite the mystery at the beginning of each decade – for e.g., ‘The Annunciation’. Then pause for a brief moment and picture in your mind an image which reminds you of this mystery. Then pray the prayers.

The fastest method of all is of course to simply announce the mystery and then launch into the prayers. But I find that it is easy to forget the mystery during this approach, or to not really step into it. However, it is acceptable.

Fast Methods of Reciting the Prayers

To recite the prayers properly, all you need to do is recite each word and to not be willingly distracted.

You do not need to vocally recite the prayers, you can do them in your mind or mime them. You can even have someone pray them for you as you listen.

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go in reciting the prayers. It’s perhaps best not to fly through so fast that you forget to breathe.

The best approach is undoubtedly to pray aloud the words or whisper them. This approach can be very tiring however, but it is fast. The second best approach is to mouth the words soundlessly.

Many of us pray the Rosary in our minds alone, and this is fine, but I have found that it is very hard to pray the Rosary with speed when doing this. It is much faster when you employ your mouth, tongue and lips.

Perhaps try a combination of all methods. See what works for you.

Ignore the Fatima Prayer

At Fatima, Mary recommended we add a prayer at the end of each decade, after the Glory Be. However, this prayer is optional (see here).

It takes almost as long to pray this prayer as it does to pray a single Hail Mary. If you need to get through the Rosary quickly, you can leave this prayer out, or add it only once in the 5 decades.

Finish Simply

After you’ve completed simply 5 decades, you have prayed a Rosary! Congratulations.

The Church seems to suggest (section 48) officially that there is no dogmatic way to finish the Rosary once you’ve prayed the 5 decades. Upon praying the Glory Be at the end of the 5th decade, you have effectively finished a Rosary.

However, for the sake of not being too much of a maverick, it’s best to finish with some common prayer. The Hail Holy Queen is a popular choice.

Finish with: ‘May the divine assistance remain always with us. And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.’

After this, simply do the sign of the cross, and you’re done.

If you would like to share how you pray the Rosary, or any methods you employ that might help others, please share in the comments below. Questions are also welcome.

God bless.

2 Replies to “How to Pray a Rosary Quickly”

  1. Hey Matthew, this is great!

    I personally have my own Rosary that I keep wherever I go. I am a catholic and I’ve been to many wakes / funerals growing up. I was always around the rosary so praying it has been ingrained in my brain. It would definitely help to show a visual or a video of praying it. Great job though. I appreciate you for sharing.

    1. Hey there!

      Thank you so much for your feedback on this post and for explaining some of your Catholic experiences.

      I keep my Rosary in my pocket wherever I am, even at work. It makes a lot of difference. I wear the Brown Scapular also, without which I feel a bit disconnected from God. It’s odd.

      Do you wear the Scapular? It’s one of the easiest ways to get to heaven. You just have to get one, get a catholic priest to enrol you formally with some set prayers, and then he puts it on you. And you just wear it, that’s all. You just wear it and never take it off (unless showing, or swimming or what have you).

      I can’t believe the Church offers a means to salvation which involves just wearing something, how simple!

      Take care

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