5 Secular Songs About Prayer | Mini Playlist
Whether you’re religious or not, the praying type or not, check out these five ‘secular’ songs (all from 2017) about prayer. Let the church say yes!
We’ll keep it short and sweet – no need to prolong things. On this mini-playlist, we highlight, five secular songs about prayer. It’s that simple. All of these songs have been reviewed as individual tracks or as part of an album review. Furthermore, some of these prayer songs have appeared on other playlists – nothing wrong with recycling. Without further ado, here are 5 Secular Songs About Prayer. Amen.
1. Sam Smith, “Pray”
Album: The Thrill of It All, 2017 | Previous Playlist Appearance: Ballads From 2017 That’ll Give You Those Feels, Vol. 1
“You won’t find me in church (no) reading the Bible (no) / I am still here and I’m still your disciple / I’m down on my knees, I’m beggin’ you, please / I’m broken, alone and afraid.”
As aforementioned, Sam Smith excels at balladry. On “Too Good at Goodbyes,” he focuses on the plight of love. On “Pray,” the second single from his sophomore album, The Thrill of it All, he shifts to religion. He expresses his skepticism towards religion, yet feels he needs to pray and try to believe in something.
“I’m young and I’m foolish, I’ve made bad decisions / I block out the news, turn my back on religion… / Lately, that shit ain’t been gettin’ me higher / I lift up my head and the world is on fire / There’s dread in my heart and fear in my bones / And I just don’t know what to say / Maybe I’ll pray…/ I have never believed in You, no / But I’m gonna pray.”
2. Kesha, “Praying”
Album: Rainbow, 2017 | Previous Playlist Appearance: 5 Songs Where Artists Went from Shallow to Personal; Ballads From 2017 That’ll Give You Those Feels, Vol. 1
Kesha gave us all chills on “Praying,” the promo single for Rainbow. “Praying” marked her first departure – a stark contrast from her past work. A ballad, it’s clear from the jump she’s aiming for empowerment for herself, and others who’ve been in an unfortunate situation. By the end of the song, the powerhouse vocals are mind-blowing. Where has she been hiding this? The most surprising moment is when she nails a high F that no one – NO ONE – thought she could hit. Judging by the content, Dr. Luke is definitely in the doghouse.
“‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell / I had to learn how to fight for myself / And we both know all the truth I could tell / I’ll just say this is I wish you farewell / I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’ / I hope your soul is changin’, changin’ / I hope you find your peace / Falling on your knees, prayin’.”
It should also be noted that Rainbow features numerous instances of Kesha ‘stepping up her game,’ opting for empowerment and thoughtfulness over gimmickry and silliness. Her “Tik Tok” days are over.
3. Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Almost Like Praying”
Ft. Artists for Puerto Rico
Album: Almost Like Praying – Single, 2017 | Previous Playlist Appearance: 10 Thoughtful Songs Arriving in the Aftermath of Tragedy
Lin-Manuel Miranda assembled a star-studded cast on benefit single “Almost Like Praying,” a musical means to soothe the ails of Puerto Rico in the aftermath Hurricane Maria. Miranda is assisted by Luis Fonsi, Marc Anthony, Camila Cabello, and Jennifer Lopez among others. Fittingly, the majority of “Almost Like Praying” is in Spanish, while Miranda kicks things off with the ‘hook’ in English.
“Say it loud and there’s music playing… / Say it soft and it’s almost like praying / It’s almost like praying…”
Following the reverent start, the Latin rhythms kick in, as do the many celebrity appearances. Throughout its course, each celeb or pairs of celebs get short snippets of the song, which makes it quite intriguing. Throughout, the music and production serves as an excellent backdrop.
4. Sampha, “Timmy’s Prayer”
Album: Process, 2017
“Timmy’s Prayer” is a heavy record, to say the least. Sampha seems to admit he was wrong and messed up a good relationship. The first hint of the repentant musician comes on the intro, “If ever you’re listening,” which also initiates the chorus:
“If ever you’re listening / If heaven’s a prison / Then I am your prisoner / Yes, I am your prisoner / I messed up, ooh / I know now / There’s no room for me to play now / Nowhere to dig my way out.”
Following the chorus, Sampha paints a picture of his regrets and emotion throughout the first verse. Later, he references his brother’s advice that “she’s a keeper,” only to later state, “She’s nowhere to be seen now…” Arguably the climax comes during the more intense, contrasting bridge section.
5. Calvin Harris, “Prayers Up”
Ft. Travis Scott
Album: Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, 2017
“Take a molly like communion (pop one).” That’s how Travis Scott rolls on “Prayers Up,” which features A-Trak as a co-producer alongside Calvin Harris. Like Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1 as a whole, “Prayers Up” is pleasant, harmless fun. Contextually, however, Harris probably should’ve prayed for slightly better quality. “Prayers Up” is weaker than much of Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1. Still, there’s nothing wrong with a little eccentricity from Travis Scott – in moderation.
Photo Credits: Capitol, Kemosabe, Atlantic, Young Turks, Columbia