I have been praying the Rosary for several years now and I notice from time to time that things get just a little too routine. When this happens I feel like I miss the point of the prayer. On my run this morning I finished the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary and realized I hadn't been paying much attention to it. In fact, I finished it and it seemed as though I hadn't actually prayed.
This is Lent and it is no time for zombie prayer! What to do? Pray it again and try harder to stay focused? Move on and try to get into some contemplative prayer? Just count it as a Rosary prayed and try again tomorrow? Then I thought of a new strategy. I would spend time summarizing, paraphrasing, and analyzing each mystery before praying the prayers and then try to keep the fruit of that exercise in mind as I prayed the mystery. I have no doubt that this technique is not unique to me. If the truth were known, I probably read or heard about it somewhere but I can't really say when or where.
The time I spent before each mystery ended up taking longer that the prayers themselves. That was just fine. I had all the time in the world to pray the mysteries because this morning I was running 13 miles. Generally on a run of that length I can pray a full Rosary, Luminous Mysteries and all. But this morning after plowing through the Joyful Mysteries and realizing that my heart and mind hadn't been in it I spent the rest of my run simply re-praying the Joyful Mysteries in this new way.
I found this to be exceptionally helpful in focusing my mind on the mysteries I have prayed 100's of time before. Not only did it help me to stay focused on the life events of Our Lord, which is what the Rosary really is, really spending time looking at those events allowed me to see nuances I had over looked or had never noticed before.