I changed my morning routine recently so I can make progress on my next book (there’s nothing like it out there; you’re going to love it). Instead of waking up early to pray the Rosary, I work on writing. I pray the Rosary throughout the day as time allows.
The challenge with praying whenever inspiration strikes me is that I don’t always have my beads with me or they aren’t convenient to pull out of my pocket such as when I’m driving or working around the house. I sometimes try to just keep the count in my head or use my fingers. But it’s amazing how quickly I can lose count when I’m multitasking. Losing my spot counting to ten may seem silly, but it happens quite often.
My solution to my elementary school counting problem is simple — pray the Rosary based on time, not count. I look at my watch or a clock, note the time, and pray a decade for 5 minutes. It’s not a hard 5, more like around 5 minutes. I may pray a few more Hail Marys or maybe a few less. But I probably average out to 10 Hail Marys. Realistically, at 5 minutes per decade I’m probably praying more than if I counted.
The beauty of this method is that I don’t get into prayer acceleration. I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I’m counting anything, whether it be Rosary beads or exercise reps, I tend to accelerate as I get closer to the end. It’s almost instinctual to want to cross that metaphorical finish line quickly when it’s in sight. With the time-based Rosary method, I removed that urge to speed up. I pray at a constant pace; no shortcuts.
The other great aspect of the timed Rosary prayer method is that it frees me to just meditate while praying. Again, I can’t explain it, but not counting beads makes the experience feel less like checking something off my TODO list and more like quality time with God. Give it a try and see if it works for you.