When I first wrote The Magic of Effective Prayer in early 2016, I was surprised by how much I learned from that exercise. If I had to name the book’s best benefit, writing it forced me to collect thoughts I’d long had on the subject of “praying well” and formulate them into a coherent system.
But there’s more to the story. In the back of the book I’d composed a set of daily prayers, which in turn took on a life of their own. I found them useful as a daily training exercise, which I published in Daily Magical Devotions and later outlined in My New Everyday Prayer Book. From there these prayers found a small popularity, and somewhere along the way I saw a need to revise them.
Why the Revision?
Before introducing the revised texts for the prayers, I’d like to say a few words about why I wanted to revise them.
In the first place, contemporary English. A very rare person can make contemporary English sound beautiful, and in my 48 years I’ve seen exactly one example of a contemporary English-language liturgy done well, but I am not that rare person and lack that rare talent. Most examples of contemporary-language religious texts are just plain jarring, usually standing in a spectrum between the poor rollout of the Novus Ordo paraphrase of 1974, and its clunky replacement translation of 2011.
Sidenote: the modern language you see in My New Everyday Prayer Book owes to holdovers from my last congregation, more or less copypasted from the pew books I’d created for them. In 2019 I did a poll where the vast majority of responders preferred traditional English, and this will be prioritized in future editions.
Another reason was that the wording in some spots was awkward. One example a friend pointed out to me is the Prayer for Mornings, where the text said “as I awake this morning I give myself to you.” Now this is great if you’re just getting out of bed, but what if you use the bathroom, brush your teeth, or have a cup of coffee before saying your prayers?
The other issue was my attempt at inclusive language making the prayers sound awkward. The most egregious example here would be the Wednesday prayer with its “fellow human beings.” Here we must remember – and I certainly must’ve forgotten – that inclusive language was never intended to sound “pretty,” and language that isn’t pretty is almost never useful for a meditative or prayerful state. There’s also the fact that very few people care about the inclusive language question one way or the other, except maybe a few ideological holdouts from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. For my part, I prefer to cut it down the middle: I’ll try to be inclusive of both genders as much as possible, but not if it makes the text sound ugly. In all conflicts, euphony of language will receive pride of place every time.
That’s as much as I can think of for now. So without further ado, here are the revised versions of the prayers!
The Daily Magical Prayers, Revised
1. Prayer when Rising in the Morning
O Loving God, to thee do I give myself at the beginning of this day. For thy many gifts I thank and praise thee, and in a spirit of firm faith and childlike trust I know thou wilt protect me this day from all danger. Look also upon me, Heavenly Father, and fill my life with love, prosperity, wisdom, and fortitude. Forgive my shortcomings and help me turn my weaknesses into strength. Guide my words that they may be always true and glorify thee, O God. Through thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
2. Prayer when Retiring in the Evening
Almighty Living God, in a spirit of thanks I approach thee for guiding me through yet another day.
As I lie down to sleep this night, I ask that thou wilt place thine holy angels to guard and protect me:
Raphael before me,
Uriel behind me,
Gabriel at my right hand,
And Michael at my left.
Let thy love and protection surround me as a circle of flaming stars, and above me and below me, within me and without me, may the power of thy Son envelop and increase me as I seek to live each day in thy name.
Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
[Variation: For those who prefer a more “Golden Dawn”-style arrangement: Raphael before me, Gabriel behind me, Michael at my right hand, and Uriel at my left.]
3. Prayer for Sundays
Almighty God in the World of Knowledge, in the name of thy Son who rose from the dead on the first day of the week, we draw nigh to thee in thanks and praise for thy glory. Look after us, we beseech thee, in mind in body, in health and all matters of success and fortune. We ask also for illumination in matters of knowledge we may seek, and that thou sendest thine Archangel Michael to be our guide and our protector. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
4. Prayer for Mondays
Almighty Living God, this day we seek to glorify thee in all our works, and we beseech thee to help us be in the right place at the right time for opportunity, help us understand whatever message thou sendest in our dreams, and send thine Archangel Gabriel to help us understand both the messages and the opportunities thou hast provided. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
5. Prayer for Tuesdays
God of Strength and Power, we thank thee this day for all the graces thou hast bestowed upon us, and we ask thee to help us edge out competition in our endeavors, grant us the energies to see our project through to completion, the strength of will to persevere to the end, and lend us the sword of thine Archangel Samael [Camael] against all who would see us undone. Through thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
6. Prayer for Wednesdays
God of Hosts, we sing thy praises for the bounty thou has distributed throughout creation, and beseech thee to make our communications accurate and effective, whether with the angels, the spirits, or with our fellow man. Likewise we ask that our technology continue to work without fail, that we reach our destinations while traveling, and that we learn the lessons of today’s experiences toward building a better tomorrow. With the staff of thine Archangel Raphael to guide us and inform us, may we seek to praise thee and glorify thee alway. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
7. Prayer for Thursdays
God, this day we come before thee in a spirit of love and jubilation. We give thanks for the abundance of thy creation, and we give praise for thou hast given us life to be part of that abundance. Increase that abundance, we beseech thee, in our lives and our possessions, and send thy Archangel Sachiel to assist us in growth and prosperity. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
8. Prayer for Fridays
Thou art holy, Lord of Hosts. Thou art holy, and we praise the majesty of thy victory and glory. We beseech thee also to watch over and strengthen our relationships: personal, romantic, and professional. Make our relationships strong and help us to reach out and form new ones, not only for our happiness and prosperity, but also for the glorification of thy name. Through thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
9. Prayer for Saturdays
Lord God, on a Saturday thy Son didst wait in the tomb before rising up from the dead, and on that day he descended into Limbo to free the noble souls who were there constrained. We see in this that a flower’s beauty is constrained within a seed, and for it to become a flower the seed must be ended and changed forever. Create in us this change, bringing about an end to old conditions that no longer suit us that we may blossom in new life. Send forth thine Archangel Cassiel to end our loneliness, our sickness, our poverty, and our ignorance, that we may live lives filled with love, with health, with prosperity, and with knowledge, and in so doing we may glorify thee day by day, more and more. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thus completes the round of revised Weekly Magical Prayers.