Prayers are an essential activity in one’s life. It is the time when we get intimate and talk to God about our gratitude, plea, and penitence. Whereas, as Christians, we believe in the power of prayers. As a consequence, we also yearn for an immediate response of God after voicing out our litanies. At times, God provides us with what we really prayed for and showers us with blessings even more. However, in most cases, this is not what it really is. There are so-called “prayers that go unanswered.”
God is a loving father and He knows what’s best for His people. He moves in ways when we do not expect and does things when usually think don’t matter. So next time, if you think God did not grant your wishes, don’t be grouchy or be a sour grape. Instead, face it and expect God to move in mysterious ways. Here’s a song that was written about “unanswered prayers” that went way better than what was originally prayed for.
About the Song
A country music recorded in 1989, “Unanswered Prayers” was first performed and recorded by Garth Brooks and released in October 1990. Brooks co-penned the song together with fellow songwriters Pat Alger and Larry Bastian. Meanwhile, record producer and songwriter Allen Reynolds produced it for Capitol Nashville Records. This three-minute song was released as the second single from Brooks’ second studio album, No Fences. Also, it appears on his later albums, namely, The Hits, The Limited Series, Double Live and The Ultimate Hits.
“Unanswered Prayers” was a massive hit in the early 1990’s. In fact, it peaked at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs in 1991. In addition, Canadians also well-received the tune putting it to the top spot on the RPM Country Tracks in the same year. Moreover, the song remained on the charts on the year-end list of Billboard Country Songs placing at no. 9 in 1991.
Overall, “Unanswered Prayers” is considered as one of Brooks’ most well-known recordings. Also, it is one of the key tracks that spiked his No Fences album stay on the top of the charts for over 30 weeks at no. 1.
The Story Behind the Song
A lot of country songs tell stories that are coupled with meaningful messages and timeless lessons. Mostly, artists sing their songs based on their experiences or on a true account in their lives. Some may talk about missing living in the country while others talk about being in love. In addition, some may also involve lessons on family and friendship while others speak about an encounter with God. Well, for Garth Brooks’ “Unanswered Prayers,” the latter is true.
As the lyrics imply, here’s how the story goes:
The man in the song runs into his high school sweetheart at a football game in their hometown. They both had their hi’s and hello’s, and as he introduces her to his wife, the memories way back came to his mind. He reminisces the past relationship that they had and how has time changed. Way back, he still clearly remembers that he once fervently prayed for her to be his partner forever. Soon enough, they later parted ways and went through different paths. This time, the man thanks God for not answering his prayer before, because had He granted it, he would not have met his wife, who is far better than his high school sweetheart. He considers his wife a blessing from God, thus, saying:
“some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.”
Garth Brooks’ Revelation
Later, Garth Brooks admitted that the song was based on true events, an experience that he and his then-wife Sandy have undergone. He explained:
“Man, ‘Unanswered Prayers’ was a big part of my heart that went out on that record. A true life thing that happened to Sandy and myself. In October of ’89, I saw my old high school flame. And I can say this now at the time I couldn’t. For the first two years of my married life, I really thought the girl that was for me was still that girl that was in high school. And now man just the realization that what you have is the best for you, and the best you could ever do in your lifetime. It sure makes you sleep well at night.”
Further, Brooks revealed more of the story, on how he conceived the song and others:
“Pat Alger and I worked on this song quite a long time without a hook, without the line. We passed it by Larry Bastian and it was as if it was meant to be. Larry, his wife Myrna and I were taking a walk down 18th Avenue, and he looked at me and said, ‘Oh, that’s simple. This song should be called ‘Unanswered Prayers’ because some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.’ This is probably the truest song I have ever been involved with as a writer. This actually happened to my wife and me when we went back home to Oklahoma. Every time I sing this song, it teaches me the same lesson… happiness isn’t getting what you want, it is wanting what you’ve got.“
LISTEN and sing along with Garth Brooks’ 1990 hit “Unanswered Prayers.”
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Garth Brooks, Unanswered Prayers