From my readings of the lives of the saints and from knowing many prayer warriors (and being told I am one!), here are some guides to help you know if YOU are a prayer warrior:
Prayer warriors are:
**Willing to spend time in prayer on a daily basis – usually prayer warriors already pray morning and evening or are willing to grow into that practice
**Willing to seek to understand the deeper meaning of the words of any vocal or mental prayer. (St. Teresa, Way of Perfection, 24)
**Willing to suffer for others, or willing to learn about the real role suffering plays in our spiritual growth (see 2 Corinthians 4)
**Willing to give the temptations they suffer to Jesus for help in humility – take up cross and follow me (St Teresa, Life, ch. 16 and 17 – keep Devil away by uniting self to cross and not desiring any consolations.)
**Willing to use the Rosary as a weapon against the ills of the world, or learn to use it that way on a daily basis. Sources: (among many others) Our Lady at Lourdes (St. Bernadette was praying it when Mary appeared), and at Fatima, where she directly asked that it be prayed – in every appearance!)
**Willing to grow into fasting as a form of prayer warfare (Esther 4:16; Mk. 2:20; Mt 6:16-18; Acts 13: 2-3, 14: 23)
That’s great, you might say, but what if I don’t know where to start and what types of prayer exist? Not to worry, this article by Fr. Bartunek is very helpful.
St. Teresa of Avila refers to praying the Rosary as a child before she entered the convent in the Book of Her Life that she wrote at the command of one of her confessors (priests who came to the convent to hear the sins of the nuns and give to them the Sacrament of Reconciliation). It is our greatest weapon in prayer, as can be seen in historical events where people bonded together to pray the Rosary with a very specific intention which was granted. Prominent examples are the hugely outnumber Christians winning the Battle of Lepanto, Portugal (where the Fatima appearances took place in 1917) being spared any effect from WWI, and the withdrawal of the Communists from Austria in the mid 1950s. More about these past triumphs can be found in a small book called The Secret of the Rosary, by St. Louis de Montfort. (Read the first part for free.) In addition, Mary herself has appeared holding the Rosary, and she has made specific requests that we pray the Rosary at Fatima in 1917. More recently, she has appeared in Argentina (1983-1990), holding the Christ child and a large Rosary. These apparitions have been approved, and more about them can be seen here.
Very significantly, Mary asks that we pray the Rosary every day and explains suffering when she asks that we read 2 Corinthians 4. Our suffering connects us with God and with one another, and as we all know, together, we are stronger! On that note, please feel welcome to comment below or to request your free PDF of the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary using the form at the bottom.
On a personal note, why is the Rosary important to me? Although the Rosary has not been a constant, yet it has been a part of my life ever since I was four years old and my grandmother would have to tell me: “I cannot tell you any more stories, because you need to get to sleep and I need to pray my Rosary.” All through my life, as I visited her, I would sleep in her room on the floor and I would overhear her pray the Rosary. Sadly, I did not adopt it as a daily part of my prayer until much later. During certain periods, the Rosary literally kept me alive, and it is certainly my preferred weapon! Holding the beads helps me focus and even though moving my fingers along with the prayers doesn’t happen perfectly (humbling!), that movement reminds me of progress. It is one tiny bit at a time, and each movement can be a joy! The beads connect me with my grandmother and they connect me with my Most Holy Mother in heaven, and through her to my Jesus. Most of the time, a slow breathing pattern while saying the prayers of the Rosary brings me into a deep peaceful place of praising God, and interceding for myself and others. Days of particularly sad news require more than one Rosary to keep a joyful face. Consecrating yourself to Mary can also be a big help in becoming more consistent in praying the Rosary, as St. Louis de Montfort urges us to do, and a wonderful 33 day approach by Fr. Michael Gaitley can help us to complete that work. Find it here.
A few helpful considerations:
Each one of us is at a different stage of our lives and each one of us will be called to the Rosary in a different way at a different point. It is best never to compare, or to check of numbers of prayers said as another thing done or as a “deposit” into your “heavenly account”. All prayer is best born of love and best done to praise God, and in my opinion, is a part, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, of clinging to Jesus. As another famous St. Teresa (of Avila) said, these memorized prayers must be prayed with an awareness of what you are saying and to whom you are speaking! (For example, as a small child, the Hail Mary had a pause in it, but from when I heard it at age four, until I saw it written and really had to memorize it at age seven, I had NO IDEA the central word of the prayer was Jesus! Scary!)
Instead of comparing (and feeling hopeless), we can still appreciate that Padre Pio said many Rosaries in one day, and it is good to remember that we can all grow more and more. Let Mary call to you in this prayer. A really good resource if images really help you in prayer is A Contemplative Rosary by Connie Rossini and Dan Burke.
One more invitation: Tell about the most intense Rosary you ever prayed. Here’s mine in brief snatches: Sung in Latin, at Lourdes. Carrying a candle in cool, summer evening air. Gratitude for its light and warmth. Connecting that small light and warmth with Jesus calling me to be a small light for Him and bring warmth to a world where so many hearts are cold. Walking slowly with so many others. Each one of us a tiny light! Hearing the river. Seeing the Church. Praying for the sick. Thanking God for all the healing. Blessings to all of you!