Like a Prayer

The best writers, poets, and songwriters have a way of using words that put us more in touch with how we feel. They say what we want to say but can’t or won’t say. So they tell a story, write a poem, or sing a song.

Great music, especially, helps us pay attention to our emotions. This is why we listen to sad songs when we’re sad, or fast-paced heavy guitar rock when we’re mad. The words and music not only convey thoughts and ideas, but the deepest feelings we experience.

More Than That

More than that, I believe a lot of our favorite songs, the ones we don’t hear in church or on Christian radio, are prayers. I thought about this recently when someone shared a story with me about his favorite singer. Chris Cornell was the lead vocalist and primary song writer for the rock bands Soundgarden and Audioslave. My friend let me listen to an Audioslave song called Show Me How To Live because he likes the song and the lyrics intrigue him. After learning more of Cornell’s story I was intrigued as well.

The song is a prayer. He’s asking for help. He wants to know how to live and he’s asking the One who gave him life to show him how. Part of the lyrics are below:

Built with stolen parts
A telephone in my heart
Someone get me a priest
To put my mind to bed
This ringing in my head
Is this a cure or is this a disease?

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live

Nail in my hand
From my creator
You gave me life
Now show me how to live
And in your waiting hands
I will land, and roll out of my skin
And in your final hours I will stand

They’re There

It’s easy to see the prayer in Show Me How To Live. The prayers aren’t as clear in other favorite songs, but they’re there. What about the soulful gratitude of Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman?

Looking out on the morning rain
I used to feel so uninspired
And when I knew I had to face another day
Lord, it made me feel so tired

Before the day I met you
Life was so unkind
You’re the key
To my piece of mind

Or the lament in the lyrics of Time by Hootie & The Blowfish?

Time why you punish me
Like a wave bashing into the shore
You wash away my dreams

Time why you walk away
Like a friend with somewhere to go
You left me crying

Can you teach me ’bout tomorrow
And all the pain and sorrow running free
‘Cause tomorrow’s just another day
And I don’t believe in time

I can’t leave out the joyful tune of Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. It expresses the same feeling as Psalm 126:5.

But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music in my mind
Saying it’s gonna be alright

Players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate (haters gonna hate)
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break
Fakers gonna fake
I’m just gonna shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

What Do You Think?

Some of our favorite songs are similar to many of the psalms we find in the Bible expressing the full spectrum of emotion: joy, rage, gratitude, sorrow, excitement, and disappointment.

What do you think? Do you agree with me about some of our favorite songs being prayers?

I’d love to hear from you about your favorite songs. Are they prayers?


  1. Faron Davis on September 26, 2023 at 9:14 am

    I love this! I’ve felt the same way many times about various songs ❤️

    • marieg on September 26, 2023 at 9:56 am

      Thank you, Faron. I want to help people see God in our everyday ordinary lives…I want to blur the lines between secular and sacred. God will use the lyrics of Chris Cornell just as powerfully as He will use the words of David’s psalms.

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