Does Jesus Dislike the Rosary and Other Repetitive Prayers?

By pintswaquinas February 22, 2024

In Matthew 6:7 (King James Version), Jesus says, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”

Many Protestants accuse Catholics of violating this command when they pray the rosary. After all, the rosary includes 53 Hail Marys!

Do the rosary and similar long prayers qualify as “vain repetitions”? No and here’s why.

“Vain repetitions” is not an accurate translation.
The King James Version interprets the Greek word battalagesete as “vain repetitions.” A better translation is “stammering.” Jesus tells us not to pray like the pagans, babbling on to get God’s attention.

Jesus doesn’t condemn repetition.
Many ancient pagans believed they had to pray for a long time to get the gods’ attention. If their prayers fell short, they wouldn’t be answered.

Jesus condemns this superstition, but nowhere does He condemn repetitive prayers. Don’t pray the rosary believing it’s the only way to get God’s attention. Pray it with devotion and submission to God’s will, knowing that it’s the purity of your intention — not the length — that matters.

The Bible contains repetitive prayers.
Psalm 136 repeats the refrain “for his steadfast love endures forever” over two dozen times. Given that the Holy Spirit inspired all of Scripture, this is a case of a divinely sanctioned repetitive prayer.

The key to any prayer — long or short — is love. Don’t let guilt motivate you to say long prayers. Treat your longer prayers as a loving conversation. Spouses in love never tire of repeating fond expressions to each other.

Sometimes a short prayer or even a sigh to God is all you need.


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