Too Sick to Pray: What I learned about Prayer from Willie Nelson

February 05, 2013

Too Sick to Pray: What I learned about Prayer from Willie Nelson

I am a big Willie Nelson fan. Obsessed. When the times comes around, I might even name a child Willie. During my long hair days in college I even rocked the double braid/bandana look.

I have learned over the years country singers make wonderful practical theologians. They confront the world in a way many preachers should take notes on. In these songs the writers talk about pain,hurt, sin, goodness, human expressiveness and need while exert their influence in a way other writers cannot.

A country song lifts up the primary human emotion needed when asking for forgiveness.

Brutal Honesty reigns.



I love this song. For someone who struggled (and still struggles) with what a good prayer life looks like, Nelson gives us a great beginning point. It comes back to the honesty thing. In his almost sacrilegious treatment of prayer he doesn’t allow his condition to stop his movement towards engaging and encountering with God. I love how in the video he refers to this as “his loophole song”.

He breaks down the condition of life, talks about his own spiritual movement and prays for others. In his frankness of his own life he never breaks apart the idea God was the one moving away.

Yes, the lyrics encourage the false idea the human heart can reach a state of ill communication with God, but the awareness and openness redeem it.

Are we ever too sick to pray?