In the past few months, Kesha has released some new music. It’s been very personal in nature. One of the new songs is entitled, “Praying.” The lyrics can be reviewed here. Listening to it and reading the lyrics made me want to write a new musical faith piece. Let’s discuss.
Kesha begins in the first verse by singing, “Well, you almost had me fooled / Told me that I was nothing without you / Oh, but after everything you’ve done / I can thank you for how strong I have become.” Being told you are less than you can be alone, being told you are weaker without someone else, being told you can only be defined by someone else’s creativity – is awful. Kesha has been very public about dealing with depression including with how she’s laid her emotions bear in this song. This is a not very veiled attempt at bringing up criticism of her former producer Dr Luke who she alleged emotionally, mentally, and sexually abused her. She is laying it out there that his attacks, his personal attempts to crush her have made her stronger. And so, she thanks him for the pain he put her through because it made her who she is now. Later in the song she will speak to how she is content and happy with who she currently is.
The Bible speaks of suffering. Over and over again (John 15:20). In 1 Peter 4, Peter talks explicitly about suffering as a Christian and how we are to be thankful for and embrace it. We are to expect suffering. We are to expect pain. We are to live through it and know that the Lord is making us stronger through it. Yet that’s not depression, of which Kesha dealt with. These are struggles in life. This can be persecution, personal demons to deal with. While depression is a personal issue to deal with – Peter is primarily speaking of outside stresses and pain. Internal pain – that’s different.
Depression is a monster. Lady Teresa Christina on Otaku in my Veins wrote about her personal struggles with it.
Depression takes your life away from you. It robs you of what it feels like to be human…Having depression made me feel like I was a burden on everyone around me. I felt like no one had time for me, and everyone just wanted me to go away. I knew that I was getting to be pretty intense on my only two friends I had made at college, and I didn’t know what to do.
What Kesha was going through, I’d imagine, must have felt like that. It is obvious as you hear the emotion in her voice. And for someone to have told her she wasn’t good enough, strong enough, had to be incredibly painful. Again, as Lady Teresa Christina said, “The biggest hurt you can inflict on someone with depression is by telling them that they aren’t good enough or they aren’t trying hard enough.” That’s what Kesha is saying she dealt with. That’s the pain she felt. It’s hard, it’s painful, and it’s horrible.
How does she deal with it? In the case of Kesha she found internal strength to fight back as she describes in the song. It’s good to be able to thrive on your own, but in this universe – we are not alone. There is someone out there much greater than us who can and is ready to help us. We have a huge, powerful, and amazing God who is ready to listen, ready to help, and ready to stand there with you. Kesha touches on that in an article for Lenny where she said, “What matters is that I have something greater than me as an individual that helps bring me peace.” That greater thing – is God.
He never promises to take away the burdens of this life despite what some preachers try to teach us. He does, however, promise to be with us (Matthew 28:19-20). That’s an amazing promise and one that encourages me.
Yet, if that was the entire song – that would be powerful enough. However, it’s not. In the chorus, Kesha says the following, “‘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.” In the chorus she explicitly says that this person did her harm and so, she must be away from them. Yet, she is hoping this person changes. She is hoping this person is seeking God to help them change.
Her last lines of the song before repeating the chorus are, “Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night / Someday, maybe you’ll see the light / Oh, some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give / But some things only God can forgive” We are weak and finite. We find ourselves unable to forgive our enemies. She isn’t sure if she can. However, she is trying. She is praying. She is hoping he is praying too and becoming a better man. While this may sound odd, Kesha is showing Christ-like grace in the face of an evil that drove her to depression and massive emotional distress by praying for her enemy.
It’s a radical departure from the norm to pray for those who hurt you, who’ve done awful things to you personally. Yet, Jesus calls us to do just that (Matthew 5:43-48). As Christians we are called to pray for our enemies. That means the people who hurt us. That means the people who have lied to us. That means the people who cheated us. That means our political enemies. That means the people who we see do evil in this world. As Kesha does, we pray for them to change. We pray for them to realize they were wrong. We also pray for their well-being and hope the Lord can change their heart. Through these lyrics, Kesha reveals that she is doing just that. While she talks about how she doesn’t need this person anymore and is free of the evil, she is still hoping they can change, hope they can find their peace in prayer and from a power outside of themselves.
As a Christian, I believe in a power beyond myself – Christ Jesus. My Lord can change me. He can save me from the evil within my heart. The power of His perfect sacrifice on the cross has already done the work and He promises to be present with me. That’s amazing and if He can forgive me – I need to learn to forgive my enemies. I need to learn to pray better for my enemies. Maybe I could take a few notes from Kesha…
If you enjoyed the song, I also recommend checking into Chase Holfelder’s excellent cover of the song: