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We all know the importance of praying the rosary. But I have also been praying The Twelve-year Prayer of S. Bridget of Sweden.

I noticed one very important thing. Anytime I got into a temptation it was difficult to stop thinking about the temptation and the attacks were constantly coming and wouldn't stop.

Anytime I prayed the rosary, it didn't help much. The temptation still kept coming after I prayed. A year ago I started to pray the prayer of St. Bridget and anytime I pray this prayer in time of temptation, the attacks completely stop. It's a little bit scary because it really resets my brain. It gives me no desire to follow thoughts of any temptation that I was facing before.

Now I feel like the rosary is not that powerful and maybe I shouldn't pay much attention to it. I still want to pray it because it helps me meditate on Christs life and stay focused but...

My question is, was there ever in the Catholic tradition a case where a saint or somebody struggled with a similar problem? Is it possible for Satan to use one prayer in order to distract us from a different one which is considered by the Church a prayer which is deemed to be more meritorious?

  • Not sure one can find an example close enough to fit the bill, but it stands to logic if the Devil has tempted some of the Saints that God did not exist, then he could use one prayer in order to distract us from a different one which is considered by the Church a prayer which is more meritorious. "At the heart of all diversion is that the Devil wants us to focus on lesser things to avoid focusing on greater things." – Ken Graham Feb 11 '17 at 3:00
  • I can't give an answer, but probably this verse from the Bible may help? 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – nbloqs Feb 11 '17 at 22:31
  • @nbloqs, thanks for the suggestion but I doubt the verse is even close or I can relate it. Praying different prayer than the rosary can't be a delusion or even sin. – Grasper Feb 13 '17 at 13:47
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    @Grasper, I understand. Just tried to help a bit with the Bible. I'm using the comments to avoid any doctrinal exchange in the answers. In Spanish we have 2 words: "orar" (for a free style praying), and "rezar" which is what you are describing. Have you tried just to tell God your problem? Please don't get me wrong: I just want to help (if my comments do not help at all, please let me know and I will delete them.) – nbloqs Feb 13 '17 at 14:31
  • Hey Ken, you might want to consider that the Rosary (a great set of prayers) is pretty repetitive, and consists of pieces you probably memorized a long time ago, which lets your mind wonder back to the temptations. The prayer to the bridge looks much longer, is less repetitive, and probably forces you to focus away from the temptation and towards the holy spirit. You should use the best prayer for the occasion - we have many occasions in our lives for prayer, and many prayers to use for that reason. – LeLetter Feb 13 '17 at 18:05
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There is a set number of hours in a day and one cannot pray all the prayers. I'd imagine it would be pretty hard for a Catholic layperson with a 40 hour work week to go to Mass, pray all the hours of the Divine Office, pray the rosary and do whatever seasonal novena or devotion comes up.

So, one has to choose which prayers to pray in order to get through life. But, as St. John Vianney says "No prayer is ever wasted" *.

But, St. John Vianney also said

'Never forget that it is at the beginning of each day that God has the necessary grace for the day ready for us. He knows exactly what opportunities we shall have to sin, and will give us everything we need if we ask him then. That is why the devil does all he can to prevent us from saying our morning prayers or to make us say them badly.'

So he thinks that the Devil can use badly said prayers to distract us from saying our prayers with devotion and St. Theresa of Avila observes that

'Much more is accomplished by a single word of the Our Father said, now and then, from our heart, than by the whole prayer repeated many times in haste and without attention.'

St. Theresa of Avila

which is to say that an undistracted heart makes prayer better and we can only assume that the Devil wants prayer to be worse. So, given the difficulties in praying certain prayers requiring hard work + devotion, you have to balance it. Prayer is a lot like lifting weights, it takes time to build up an appetite for it. The rosary is like 53 reps on freeweights. The Liturgy of the Hours is like a complicated squat machine, you might hurt yourself without a spotter. I don't know about the Twelve Year Prayer of St. Bridget, but if it's complicated and you haven't prepared yourself to receive it, it might be a distraction unto itself. Then again, it might be exactly what you need (this is where you go ask a priest and stop asking the Internet for this kind of advice :) )

*Couldn't find a citation for this on the Internet, it was in one of my kid's spelling books

  • I wasn't asking for an advice but if there was something similar reported in history. Anyway, I think your answer is sufficient enough and simply answers yes if the prayer is badly executed. – Grasper Mar 13 '17 at 16:25

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