The Hail Mary Prayer

The Hail Mary Prayer In My Life

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My spiritual life would be poorer without having been encouraged to admire and learn from Mary's qualities of surrender and love.

On one occasion (in 2010) I had a powerful experience of the Divine whilst singing a chant of the Hail Mary - Ave Maria - an overwhelming sense of a divine motherly love. I wept.

It was a wonderfully healing experience telling me that I am not alone, and I am loved...

...and that no one is alone and all are loved.

Afterwards, I realised that I was in a church dedicated to Mary. It is a church quite near to me: St Mary's in Cricklade, Wiltshire, UK.

Since this experience I am convinced that Mary is available to help us, and to help God's love to flow through us into the world. The prayer to Our Lady has taken on greater meaning for me.

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Contents List For This Page:

1. The Words To The Hail Mary Prayer

2. What is the origin of the Hail Mary Prayer?

3. Mary, Our Friend and Intercessor

4. A Prayer In Times Of Grief

5. Meaning of the prayer (includes a spiritual poem)

6. Esoteric spiritual meaning of the story of Mary in the Bible

Or click here for the following:

6. Why Do Catholics pray to Mary? Or do they?

7. Is Mary the woman mentioned in Revelation in the Bible?

The Words To The Hail Mary prayer

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.


If I prayed the Hail Mary prayer on my own, I used to leave out the word “sinners” as it increased my sense of being separate from God.

But now I have a much stronger sense that nothing can separate me from God, especially not a word, so I often leave it in.

What is the Origin of the Hail Mary Prayer?

Where does the prayer come from?

The Hail Mary prayer's origins lie in part in the following Bible verses about an encounter between Mary and the angel Gabriel, and an encounter between Mary and her cousin Elizabeth.

Statue of Mary and Jesus

"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary."

“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said unto her,
Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

(Luke 1:26-33, KJV Bible verse about Mary)

"And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

And she spake out with a loud voice, and said,
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord."

(Luke 39-45, KJV Bible verse about Mary)

The following Bible verses are called the Magnificat. They are the origins of another famous Catholic prayer to Mary to request help.
These verses say that all generations will call Mary blessed.

And Mary said:
“My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
“For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
(Luke 46-49, NIV Bible verse about Mary)

For more about the origin of the prayer, please move to an article which asks Why do many Catholics and Protestant Christians say the Hail Mary?

Mary, Our Friend and Intercessor

The Hail Mary prayer to request the help of Our Lady is one of the most common catholic prayers.

In the Catholic tradition and some other Christian denominations, those who have passed on are believed to be available to pray for us.

The Hail Mary prayer calls on Mary to be our intercessor – one we can ask for help and prayer, just as we might ask any other friend.

A Prayer In Times Of Grief

Mary is an inspiration. A mother who watched her son die and yet maintained her faith in God.

When Jesus' parents took him as a baby to be dedicated in the temple, the following was prophesied about Mary:

“A sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.”
(Luke 2:35, Jerusalem Bible verse)

People find it particularly helpful to call on Mary for help in times of trouble, or times where they need a mother’s love or in times when they feel a mother's pain at the loss or suffering of her child.

Millions of people find Mary a powerful source of love and guidance in their life.

In the 3 months, prior to writing this faith article I had contact with 3 people who had received no religious training in praying to Mary and yet had felt guided to ask for her help and have received comfort. Mary is available to all who ask.

Meaning of the Hail Mary prayer

The meaning of the Hail Mary is to ask Mary for help - to ask her to pray for us and for our loved ones.

Mary had a hard life. She experienced a pregnancy outside marriage, an unconventional son, and the death of her son. Yet with all this, we are led to call her "blessed among women".

We are invited to know that blessings are not always accompanied by a neat looking life.
The true blessing is one of experiencing the grace of God and learning to surrender to God's will so that we live a life of purpose.

My spiritual poem below shares this sentiment.

A Prayer About Mary Mother of God

You Are Blessed

To join with Gabriel in saying of Mary:
‘You are blessed’,

Is to shift your focus
from all you do, or would possess.

You touch the place where you say ‘Yes’
to God.

It’s OK to say ‘Yes’ to God because you trust He is far more capable than you of knowing what leads to your happiness and fulfilment.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
(Luke 1:38, NIV)

© Katherine T Owen.

This spiritual poem appears in the upcoming book Through Diversity To Unity by the author of this website.

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Esoteric spiritual meaning of the story of Mary

I take the view that the Bible is not only a powerful collection of stories about other people, but that if we pray for guidance, the key figures become archetypes which provide us with additional spiritual guidance.

Click through for my personal take on the meaning of Mary's example for our own spiritual journey, along with an esoteric meaning of the Christ and of other aspects of the Nativity story in the Bible.

Articles relevant to the prayer to Our Lady

Move from The Hail Mary Prayer to see a full list of prayers on this website.

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Be Loved

15 Spiritual Love Poems
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For 14 years, Katherine T Owen was severely disabled with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, unable to walk, with little speech, and with inadequate care.

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