Is praying the rosary a good thing for Christians to do?

3 minute read

Is there any similarity between the mantra meditation found in Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age practices, and praying the Rosary?

The Bible’s instruction about the repeating of prayers over and over again seems unequivocal:

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: (Matthew 6.7-8a)

Yet there is so much focus on mindfulness in the general culture and in the church, that praying the Rosary seems such a natural and wholesome thing to do. In addition, the Roman Catholic Church promotes such prayers as meritorious. What’s the truth?

The Mantra and the Rosary

In Transcendental Meditation, the mantra is the name of a Hindu deity. This becomes a touch point used to bring the person to a state of mental quietness such that the voice of the divine may be apprehended.

In Roman Catholic prayer with the Rosary, the Hail Mary or Our Father are used to center the person’s mind in much the same way.

Roger Oakland writes the following:

Mantra-style meditation is actually divination, where practitioners perform rituals or meditation exercises in order to go into trances and then receive information from spiritual entities. (Tony) Campolo elaborates on the fruit of mysticism, an atmosphere he calls “the thin place” _The constant repetition of his name clears my head of everything but the awareness of his presence...The thin place is that spiritual condition wherein the separation between the self and God becomes so thin that God is able to break through._ (Tony Compolo, as quoted by Oakland)

Nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to “thin” the division between our world and the spiritual realm. On the contrary, this type of behavior is condemned, for our own good.

(Divination: the discovery of hidden knowledge through mystical practices.)

There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. (Deuteronomy 18:10)

Oakland continues:

I have been to the country of Myanmar (formerly called Burma) twice. On both occasions, I observed and videotaped both Catholics and Buddhists practicing repetitive prayer. By the way, in both cases they were chanting these prayers over and over again while counting beads. Yes, Catholics and Buddhists both have a rosary technique to keep track of how many times they have chanted a prayer. I have also interviewed Catholics and Buddhists praying in Myanmar. I have asked them what they are doing and why they are doing it. Each time I asked this question, I have been told the same thing. It is a way to concentrate and focus their thoughts and get in tune with the spirit world. Chanting repetitive phrases to get closer to God is not biblical; it is Satanic. -Oakland, Roger. _Faith Undone: The Emerging Church-- a New Reformation or an End-Time Deception_

God speaks to Christians through his Word

If you use repetitive prayer or any kind of focusing meditation practice like the Rosary, please stop now. You are doing yourself harm, and quite likely being seduced. Instead, read the Bible with an open heart. The Holy Spirit will speak to you in the way he has ordained - through his word. He will lead you into all truth, and conform you to true holiness in a safe, clean and honest way.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (Ephesians 5:11)

Cover image nun-Bhutan.

Originally published at: Comfort for Christians



But, “A plenary indulgence is granted when the rosary is recited in a church or oratory or when it is recited in a family, a religious community, or a pious association.” :)

I have recently engaged a few people, on Facebook, on praying the rosary. Youd be surprised how fanatically defensive they can get about the practice, no matter how unbiblical one demonstrates it to be.

[For the great fraud of indulgences, etc., and the preposterous doctrines of the sophists have sufficiently taught us what great vexation and danger arise therefrom if a foul stroke is here made. How many a godly conscience under the Papacy sought with great labor the true way, and in the midst, of such darkness did not find it!] -Lutheran Confession, Defense of the Augsburg Confession, Article VI.1 :)

Actually its mostly the latter. This is how these folks were raised from childhood and many will be buried clutching their beads. I too said the rosary often in my youth, mostly for indulgences for a dead member of the parish (but the word indulgence was never spoken) however I realized it was thoughtless repetition with everyones mind in neutral. It never occurred to me until later that theres 10 Hail Marys for each Lords Prayer, and even if praying to a dead woman was biblical, thats still upside down, GOD should be the recipient of all prayers, not 10%. The rosary was supposedly given to St. Dominic, the founder of the Dominican order, by Mary in a vision in the early 12th century, and these visits by Mary have been discussed here recently. The history of the rosary is as interesting as it is dreadful, because each recitation of the Hail Mary drives a wedge deeper between man and God, and the true originator of the rosary probably meant it to be that way.

Touche. :) When I was a Catholic boy, it was my hope to finally make 9 First Friday Masses with Communion, step out of the church and have a car hit and kill me so Id go straight to heaven. Could never get past 7. Probably saved my life.

Much appreciated, Nathan. The evangelical world is moving towards the darkness of medieval Rome step by sad step.

so u r saying that repetitive praying (hail marys) while meditating an certain aspects of Christs life is unpleasing to Him? i believe there is no definitive proof one way or another in scripture (your scripture cited is VAIN repititious prayer which is not the same as honest Christ-focused repitious prayer). but because the rosary comes from the catholic church it is branded as evil without any honest investigation. granted the CC is full of erroneous doctrine. honest, sincere, non-vain prayer from the heart is not offensive to God and you are arrogant to assume as such without concrete scripture to back it up. ANY VAIN prayer is offensive to God regardless of its origin.

Hi David, The words of Scripture have specific meanings. If you pray the Lords Prayer (for example) with focus on the meaning of each phrase, this is not vain repetition. “Lead us not into temptation” means just what it says. To take that phrase and to treat it as disconnected sounds, or to assign ones own private and personal meaning to it that has nothing to do with the plain meaning is a dangerous practice. If you want to think about the life of Christ, read the Gospels and meditate on what you read there. Keep close to the Scriptures and a tight rein on your imagination and you will do well. Keep close to your imagination and far from the Scriptures and you are on dangerous ground. God bless you, David.