The Hardest Prayer I Have to Say by Sarah Reinhard


reinhard_sarahIt was early January of this year when I realized, without a shadow of a doubt, that I HAD to say the rosary daily.

At first, it was sort of fun, in the way all new adventures are.

And then reality set in.

I have to pray this EVERY DAY?!?!?

Let me shatter any illusions you may have of me as a poster child for piety.  I battle myself as much as the next gal, and though I try to blame any number of things for my difficulties, I think it comes down to a general resistance to what’s good for me.

Because, at the heart of it, the rosary is good for me.

It’s hard.  Not only is it a mammoth of a prayer (there is no such thing as “only 20 minutes”  in my life), but it’s asking me to be coordinated.

If I’m anything, it’s a klutz.  My friends and family members know better than to put me at the cutting board in the kitchen — I don’t care how good your knives are, I’ll find a way to sever a finger.

How, exactly, am I supposed to keep track of which Hail Mary I’m on while holding a string of beads while saying a prayer while meditating on the mystery?  I mean, I can barely tie my kids’ shoes!

But, in early February, after the novelty of this new personal prayer mandate wore off, when I realized in my slow way that my excuses were just that, I also saw, with something like clarity, that here was a challenge I could embrace.

For someone who loves puzzles and difficult reading, isn’t the rosary just the prayer equivalent of the ultimate in devotions?

Well, yes, it is.

But it’s also more than that.  In the rosary, I’m reaching out and reaching up, and Mary is leaning down to grab my hand.  I think I must feel her grip in the ability I have, some days, to deal with whiny people and the impossible juggling act I set myself up for.

Though I am imperfect in my praying, there’s a lesson in accepting the strides I can make, in trusting God to lead me where He wills, in loving Mary enough to listen to her request to pray the rosary.

Life isn’t about being perfect in my eyes, and I need a reminder as often as I can get one.

In my daily rosary, I get that reminder, and so much more.

Maybe you struggle with the rosary too.  Maybe you feel a pull to it, but find that pull an impossible contradiction.  Maybe you just can’t find the time.

Let me offer you my encouragement and my Mother’s hand.  Take hold of that hand and close your eyes.  Do as much as you can, and open your eyes to see her Son smiling at you.

Copyright 2009 Sarah Reinhard


About Author

When she’s not chasing kids, chugging coffee, or juggling work, Sarah Reinhard’s usually trying to stay up read just one…more…chapter. She writes and works in the midst of rural farm life with little ones underfoot. She is part of the team for the award-winning Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion, as well as the author of a number of books. You can join her for a weekday take on Catholic life by subscribing to Three Shots and follow her writing at Snoring Scholar.


  1. Sarah, this is yet another great reflection. Lot’s of reasons but I’ll mention the one that touched my heart the most. You see, I am a cradle Catholic who grew up with the rosary but only saw it as a chore. When I got out of school I abandoned it and with it, Mary. Now, well, your blogs, other people in my life, Mary herself have called to me in ways to help me realize that I need to seek her, want to somehow touch her, the real her. I have begun, haltingly, to pick up my rosary and actually pray. Usually in the car during my morning commute, sometimes in bed before sleep. And now I have the image of holding her hand when I hold the rosary. That lump in the throat thing happened. Thank you. Mark

  2. Sylvia Broussard on

    Sarah, Mary has been sending me signs these past few days to turn to her and the rosary for my deep concerns for my 28 year old son. I say a rosary every morning, but I lingered away from it since last week going through those dreadful, fearful, dry days. Since Our Lady of the Rosary Feast Day on Oct. 7 I began to have an urge to start again. After that I came across a picture of our beautiful Mother on the Association of the Miraculous Medal web site with a message that our Mother Mary’s favorite prayer is the rosary, and that she answers our prayer requests especially when we pray her rosary. And then tonight I come across your column about saying the rosary. My heart is just pumping with joy that she is sending me these signs. What great joy when she and her Son send these signs when we are at our lowest, dark days. But, Sarah, you have given me joy also, because you see, as many rosaries as I have said in my life as a mother of 4 boys, I have learned how to picture her and Jesus, but never in the way that you have described in this column. Reaching out and up to Mary and her leaning down to grab my hand. Thank you so much for giving me the encouragement that you have offered and your Mother’s hand. I am having a hard time right now trying to follow the path that God is leading me, but through you, He is reminding me to trust Him and listening to Mary’s request to pray the rosary. I feel so sorry for people who do not BELIEVE, don’t you?Sylvia

  3. Sarah,
    I’ve read several of your recent columns (here, faith and family, and today’s catholic woman) and I’m so very glad that I have. I’m going to work a little harder on learning Our Mother’s most beloved Rosary, and while I may not start out praying it everyday, there is always the hope that I will.
    Thanks so much!

  4. Sarah, it was the rosary that brought me back to the Church after 40 years; you might say it roped me in. On a whim, I began praying it every day during Lent this year, and to my great surprise the meaning of grace became apparent to me for the very first time, leading to a life whose center is the Eucharist. I can’t imagine a day without the rosary, despite its difficulties. My goal is to pray a perfect one, free of distractions, full of vivid images of the Mysteries; and while I know this will probably never happen, the quest is an adventure full of joys . . .

  5. Sarah, I enjoy reading your articles. I am looking forward to finding time to read a good book and may pick up one that you’ve recommended. I’ve also enjoyed praying the rosary while exercising on the elipitical after the kids are off to school. It is a time when the house is quiet, I have peace in my heart, and am reflecting on the blessings and mysteries.

  6. Sarah bless you.

    I keep promising myself to say a daily rosary and when I miss, it is tempting to stop altogether. Now I have to go say mine for today. Thanks for the nudge.

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