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3.10 Why do we keep repeating the same prayers?

Forms of prayer

Often we pray by repeating an existing prayer. These are so-called vocal prayers or formal prayers. This might seem very boring, but praying is not the same as intoning words.

Praying is something you do with your heart. The power of a vocal prayer is also in its repetition. Because we know the words already, we can fully be with Jesus in our hearts and minds. The #TwGOD app contains some beautiful prayers.

> Read more in the book

Vocal prayers help you to pray with all your heart, give you words when you don’t know what to say, and give strength through repetition.

The Wisdom of the Church

What is vocal prayer?

In the first place, prayer is lifting the heart to God. And yet Jesus himself taught his disciples to pray with words. With the Our Father he left us the perfect vocal prayer as his testament to show how we should pray.

While praying we should not try to think pious thoughts. We should express what is in our hearts and offer it to God as complaint, petition, praise, and thanks. Often it is the great vocal prayers—the Psalms and hymns of Sacred Scripture, the Our Father, the Hail Mary—that direct us to the true substance of prayer and lead to a kind of free, interior prayer. [Youcat 501]

This is what the Popes say

Meditation on the mysteries of Christ is proposed in the Rosary by means of a method designed to assist in their assimilation. It is a method based on repetition. This applies above all to the Hail Mary, repeated ten times in each mystery. If this repetition is considered superficially, there could be a temptation to see the Rosary as a dry and boring exercise. It is quite another thing, however, when the Rosary is thought of as an outpouring of that love which tirelessly returns to the person loved with expressions similar in their content but ever fresh in terms of the feeling pervading them. [Pope John Paul II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 26]