I Wish I Could Pray
DESCRIPTION: "I wish I could pray like Mary Magdalene (x2), I wish I could pray (x2), I wish I could pray, Lord, like Mary Magdalene." "Teach me the way like Mary Magdalene." "Anybody here like Mary Magdalene." "Cast out seven devils like Mary Magdalene."
EARLIEST DATE: 1893 (Edwards-BahamaSongsAndStories)
KEYWORDS: nonballad religious
FOUND IN: West Indies(Bahamas)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Edwards-BahamaSongsAndStories 19, "I Wish I Could Pray" (1 text, 1 tune)
NOTES [312 words]: The description is based on the Edwards-BahamaSongsAndStories text.
King James Mark 16:9 has "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils."
One line of Edwards-BahamaSongsAndStories's text -- "Anybody here like Mary Mahg'alene" -- is like Booth's line -- "Is there anybody here like weeping Mary" - and shares the form of the title line of Work's and Barton-OldPlantationHymns's "Is there anybody here that loves my Jesus" (see the notes to "Is There Anybody Here"). The verse form is similar to Barton and Work but the tune and general theme is different. - BS
A number of notes here. First, Mark 16:9 is not part of the gospel of Mark (it's a later addition placed in footnotes or brackets in most modern translations). In most cases, Mark is the oldest gospel, from which Matthew and Luke derive material, but in the case of "Mark 16:9," the verse is a conflation of material in the other gospels -- the source of the statement that Jesus had cast seven demons out of Mary is Luke 8:2 and is never found in the proper gospel of Mark or in Matthew.
Note therefore that Mary never cast demons out of anyone. Jesus cast demons out of her (in other words, she suffered from a severe mental illness, very possibly schizophrenia, which Jesus was said to have cured).
The part about Mary praying is a confusion of Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany, who in John is combined with the woman who washed Jesus's feet with her hair. Mary, according to Luke 10, was spending her time with Jesus and praying while Martha was trying to serve. It is to be emphasized that we have no reason to believe Mary Magdalene -- that is, Mary of Magdala! -- was the same as Mary of Bethany, although the confusion is ancient. For more on the issue, see the notes to "I Want to Die Like Weeping Mary." - RBW
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