Well, as the very day that I made the decision I wasn't going to say the Rosary, I happened to read about the worthiness of the Rosary here on the Forum, I took that to be a sign. Whether from Mother Mary, from God, from the Angels, I don't know.
I talk to God every day. I pray for issues of the day, whether it be for people to 'see' Him and have Him change their lives, or in thanks for the gifts he has given me, or prayers to help me to change my ways etc. I talk as though I have a personal relationship with Him and I find prayers incredibly formal. I still completely revere Him but I tend to keep The Lord's prayer as the only structured prayer I say. Strangely, as a child, even before I knew who this prayer came from, it was the one and only prayer that literally hit me in the chest, like a physical blow.
I have never been able to follow structured prayers, maybe that is considered very wrong, as they have specially formulated words and intentions - but unless something is done from the heart, I think to God, it won't mean too much.
Dear Kathleen, (Alma)
One translation of the word "Alma" is "nourishing Mother"
Perhaps your reading about the worthiness of the Rosary was a "sign" from Mother Mary to you! The last sentence in your post above, however, is very important for all of us to remember. God knows our hearts as no one else knows us, not even ourselves! He created us freely and He made us with hearts that yearn for Him, but are free to love Him or not. We may not realize this and wander around as St. Augustine did, but if we truly ask for His Truth in our lives, and seek Him with all our hearts, and keep on knocking at the door of His Heart, He will open to us. He tells us this in Mt. 7:7-11. St. Augustine, after searching for many years, finally acknowledged to God in prayer: "Late have I loved Thee, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new! ...Our hearts are restless Lord, until they rest in Thee."
We also need to remember that our hearts can deceive us! So we cannot base our lives on the emotions of the heart alone. God gave us an intellect to know His Truth, and a free will to choose God in that Truth, with our whole hearts. There is an absolute Truth Who is Jesus: The Way, The Truth and The Life. Jesus tells us (John 15) that without Him we can do nothing. We cannot do without Jesus as Head, nor can we do without His Church which is His Body. We need both Scripture and Tradition for His Revealed Word and the Church's teaching authority (Magisterium) for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to the Church, promising that the Holy Spirit would bring us into the complete Truth.
The Lord's prayer is a "structured prayer", so is the Mass and the prayers given to us by the Church for the administration of Sacraments, and other prayers the Church approves: like the Rosary, and/or the Psalms prayed in the Divine Office, especially. The Church would not approve any prayer that did not have a true intention. We are certainly not required to say all the prayers she approves except for Mass and the Sacraments, but she highly recommends the Rosary. Structured prayers are helpful, and so is the prayer that can arise spontaneously from our hearts. Structured prayers are safer from errors, however, and so the Mass is carefully structured as well as prayers the Church approves for our own good, to keep them true to Christ and His teaching.
Why is the Rosary so important? The Rosary is a prayer which the Church continues to encourage because it contains the the perfect prayer which is so important, but also the Creed, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be, and most important of all the Mysteries of Christ's Life we are called to live. I firmly believe that the Lord wants us to pray with both heart and head. Our whole being is called into union with Him Who is love. The Rosary can greatly aid us in cooperating with God's Grace to make us the saints we are called to be in truth and help us not merely to follow our own wills, our likes and dislikes. God's Will is found in His Word and in His Church. God gave us Jesus and His Chruch to keep us in His Truth. The evil one lies.
The Our Father is the beginning of the relationship between God and us as taught by Jesus, and He intends us to keep growing in our Faith, Hope and above all Charity. I read in another of your posts about your attempt to pray the Rosary with a group. I agree this can be very, very difficult. My suggestion is to try and help everyone to become serious in their "conversation with God" (which is a definition of prayer used by St. Teresa of Avila.) Children can learn reverence from the good example of those older. Asking people to make a conscious effort to pray slowly and together, can help.
Sincere prayer from the heart is important. We also need attention as well as devotion. Teresa of Avila had a good sense of humor and told the nuns in her convent that if they did not have both attention and devotion in their prayers, they simply were not praying -- no matter how much their lips were moving!
May the Holy Spirit continue to guide you, Kathleen, and your family, in prayer. The Our Father is certainly the best beginning, as Jesus gave us, in this prayer, the way to pray, to come into union with God. Jesus shared with us His Life with the Father and He wants us to grow, by the power of His Holy Spirit in the Church. Mary was given to us from the Cross as our human Mother and Model. She followed Jesus perfectly and so she wants us to ponder His Mysteries. The Rosary helps us to follow Jesus, as Mary and the saints have done and they await us in the Eternal Home of Our Father.