Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

Prayer Songs

The idea that we can categorize everything as either religious or secular is a modern notion. Throughout much of history, there was no religious-secular divide. Everything was spiritual. We are not better off for forcing all things into contemporary categories we have invented. All we have done is created new problems. We can now relegate our religious life to what we do one hour on Sunday rather than seeing everything we do as spiritual. We also fail to look for the spiritual in anything we have labeled as secular. Sometimes the spiritual is staring us in the face, but we fail to see it because we have already decided what it is.

These distinctions are clearly visible in music. We assign all kinds of labels to music. Two of the biggest are religious and secular. Because of this labeling, we believe no “secular” song can be religious. We also fail to recognize how some “religious” songs may contain impure influences. As most of us have already come to realize in our lives, labels are not always our friends.

You may be surprised to learn that some artists have deep religious beliefs that can be heard in their songs. Other artists may write about something good, true, or beautiful without realizing their lyrics point to a greater Good, greater Truth, or greater Beauty. It is a blessing whenever we see or recognize something that reminds us of God or his work in this world. We should never limit the places where we can look for God.

Throughout the years, I have been fascinated by how many “popular” songs use the language of prayer. I have begun with the help of a few friends to comprise a list of these songs. You could put these songs in a playlist. You could listen to them when the situation is appropriate, and you are searching for words. If you are aware of other songs that are prayers, let me know. I would love to expand this list.

Prayer Songs

Prayer for Children
Lord Protect My Child – Bob Dylan, Susan Tedeschi
Forever Young – Bob Dylan

Prayer for Mercy
Mercy Now – Mary Gauthier
The Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea – The Louvin Brothers, Johnny Cash

Prayer for Good Fortune
Winning Streak – Glen Hansard

Prayer for Flooding or Hurricane Damage
This City – Steve Earle

Prayer of Gratitude for God’s Presence
A Living Prayer – Allison Krauss

Prayer for Patience in the Midst of Injustice
40 – U2

Prayer for Strength in the Midst of Injustice
Up to the Mountain – Patty Griffin

Prayer of Lament in a Fallen World
Prayer in Open D – Emmylou Harris

Prayer of Gratitude for God’s Grace
Why Me Lord – Kris Kristofferson

Prayer for Second Chances
Rewrite – Paul Simon

Prayer for Help
Help Me – Elvis Presley

Prayer of Surrender
If It Be Your Will – Leonard Cohen

Prayer for a Good Day
Lord, I Hope This Day is Good – Don Williams

Prayer for God’s Presence
Stay With Me – Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan

Prayer for Protection
Shelter Me – Buddy Miller

Prayer for Cleansing
Water – Kanye West

Prayer for Transformation
Yahweh – U2

Prayer for a City That Has Experienced Tragedy
My City of Ruins – Bruce Springsteen

Prayer for the Passing of a Loved One
Go Rest High on That Mountain – Vince Gill

Prayer for Endurance
Lord of the Starfields – Bruce Cockburn

Prayer When You Have Been Wronged
No Hard Feelings – The Avett Brothers

Prayer of Appreciation for God’s Work and Beauty
Poetry – Walt Wilkins

One Response to “Prayer Songs”

  1. Scott, I recommend the song “Want” by Birdtalker.

    Sean


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