"All ceremonies, consecrations, ablutions,and sacrifices are prayers in action and are symbolic formulas; and they are the most potent prayers because they are translation of word into action, showing will power and persistence, seeing that they require more constrained attention than silent prayer, or prayer expressed in words; and so they constitute real work, and such work demands a man's whole energy."Not only is this a perfect answer to the question, "Why not just pray?" but it also reminds the magician what is needed to practice artfully - one's "whole energy."
Eliphas Levi was a french would-be priest turned occultist credited with greatly inspiring the Western Magical Tradition including the Golden Dawn. Some of his books can be found at the Occult Underground. A bio can be found at Great Tarotists of the Past.
© Trish Deneen