Music Discussions

Almost Like Praying

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Almost Like Praying – Lin-Manuel Miranda

Main Point: It’s far too easy for us to just talk when it comes to prayer, but God has invited us to come to Him and ask for the things we need. He invites us to talk to Him personally, and as we know Him we can trust that He hears us when we pray.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

 

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.

 

  • Lin-Manuel Miranda is best known for creating and starring in the Broadway blockbuster Hamilton. He is also the co-writer of the songs on the soundtrack for the Disney animated film Moana.

 

  • Miranda was born in New York, but is mostly of Puerto Rican descent. As a youth, he would spend a month each year at his grandparent’s home in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico. This had significant influence on his desire to impact Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

 

  • Don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

Introducing the Song: Wanting to do something about the devastation from Hurricane Maria, Miranda collaborated with artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Mark Anthony, and Despacito artist Luis Fonsi. Lin-Manuel started working on this song just two days after Maria’s landfall, and his draw to theater provided inspiration. In the titular hook, Miranda borrows the line it’s almost like praying from West Side Story’s song “Maria” in an effort to reclaim the name Maria from the devastating hurricane.

The Music Video: The music video can be viewed for free at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=171&v=D1IBXE2G6zw

Song Lyrics: Almost Like Praying

Say it loud and there’s music playing
Say it soft and it’s almost like praying
It’s almost like praying
It’s almost like praying
It’s almost like praying
It’s almost like

Cabo Rojo, Corozal
Naguabo, Guaynabo
San Lorenzo y San Germán
San Sebastián, mi viejo San Juan
Isabela, Maricao
Fajardo, Dorado
Hormigueros, Humacao
Luquillo, Hatillo
Vega Alta, Vega Baja
Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Mayagüez
Yes, otra vez, yes
Aguadilla, Quebradillas
Guayanilla, Juana Díaz
Y Cayey, hey
It’s almost like praying (Puerto Rico)
It’s almost like praying (Puerto Rico)
It’s almost like

Arecibo, Guánica
Culebra, Las Piedras
Orocovis, Guayama
Gurabo, Maunabo
Aguas Buenas, Salinas
Río Grande, Sábana Grande
Yabucoa, Florida
Peñuelas, Santa Isabel
Naranjito, Barranquitas
Carolina, Aibonito, Bayamónm, hey!
Rincón, hey!
Barceloneta, Las Marías
Comerío, Moca, Ponce, Manatí, así

It’s almost like praying (Puerto Rico)
It’s almost like praying (Puerto Rico)
It’s almost like (Yo)

Utuado, Aguada, Adjuntas y Caguas
Canóvanas, Cataño, Juncos y Lajas
Jayuya, Villalba, Arroyo, te amo
La cueva de Camuy, los baños de Coamo
Trujillo Alto, Ceiba, Ciales
La isla de Vieques, El grito de Lares
Yauco, Cidra, Añasco, Patillas
Morovis, Loíza, lo hiciste

Puerto Rico, oh oh (Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico)
Puerto Rico, oh oh (Lai lo le lo le, le lo le lo lai)
Puerto Rico, oh oh (Puerto Rico, Borinquen)
Cien por treinta y cinco la isla complete
Puerto Rico, oh oh (Sí somos Boricua, ha, ahora que se sepa)
Puerto Rico, oh oh (Puerto Rico, así es)
Puerto Rico, oh oh (Puerto Rico Ho! Ho! Ho!)
ay Puerto Rico, oh oh (ay Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico)
Puerto Rico, oh oh (Tierra linda mía, yo te quiero)
Puerto Rico, oh oh (ay Puerto Rico)
Puerto Rico, oh oh (Mi Puerto Rico, ah)
Puerto Rico, oh oh (Puerto Rico)
Puerto Rico, oh oh (Mi Puerto Rico, yeah)
Say it soft and it’s almost like praying


Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):


Q: What was the inspiration for this song?

A: The main influence for Almost Like Praying is from the classic musical West Side Story. Tony, the male lead, sings the song Maria when learning the girl he has fallen in love with is named Maria, singing that saying her name softly is almost like praying.

Q: What are all the Spanish words in this song?

A: They are all cities and towns in Puerto Rico. Miranda’s desire is to say their names with hopes that it will help them not be forgotten as they work to recover from Hurricane Maria.

Q: How should we respond in the face of hardship and difficulty?

A: Jesus invites us to approach the throne of grace with confidence…in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We are invited to enter the presence of God and can talk to Him personally in prayer.

Where to Take It from Here: Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There is a guide just after that paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged – the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)

Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our “Parenting Help” page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today’s Teens.

Transitional Statement – Say something like this:

It seems that in times of hardship, prayer is often brought up as a response. The idea that something is “almost like praying” creates an interesting conversation. Do we take advantage of the opportunity God has given us to interact with him personally in prayer? What would our lives look like if we seized this opportunity with boldness, and believed that prayer changes things?

Let’s talk about this a bit and then look and see what God’s Word says on the subject.

More Discussion Questions:

 

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: How do you feel about musicals? Do you have a favorite musical, and if so which one is it?
  2. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: When difficult circumstances happen in your life, what is your default response?
  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think it’s hard for people to pray?
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What do you think Lin-Manuel Miranda means when he sings, Say it loud and there’s music playing, Say it soft and it’s almost like praying?
  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: When you pray, what is the thing you pray for most often?

Read the following passage from the Bible:

      • Matthew 7:7-11


Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

  1. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Looking at these verses, how does Jesus want us to respond when we face needs or challenging circumstances?
  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why does Jesus compare himself to a dad? What point is He trying to get across?
  3. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Share something that you have prayed for, but God has not answered.
  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: There are three ways God can answer a prayer. He can say yes, no, or not now. When you have not heard a yes, does this discourage you from praying? Looking again at what Jesus has said, why should we persist in prayer?
  5. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Why do you think God calls us to pray, even knowing sometimes we will never see the result of our prayers?
  6. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: How can you take advantage of a God who invites you to personally interact with Him, and to ask Him for the things you need? What would that look like for you to make this a more consistent part of your life?

Wrap Up:
During this time, we listened to an upbeat new song by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. We listened to several artists sing and rap the various cities in Puerto Rico with the idea that saying these names is “almost like praying.”

Manuel has a sincere passion to help the people of Puerto Rico, and the proceeds of this song went toward that end. However, it seems often in the face of tragedy, you and I often do not know how to respond. In these situations, we talk about prayer, or even say to others that we are praying for them, but do we take the time to pray? Would you say you are guilty of this?

(Pause and give them a moment to consider this question.)

If we believe prayer makes a difference, if we believe Jesus’ invitation for us to ask is because He wants to do good things when we ask, what truly could be more important than taking the time to pray?

(Pause and give them a moment to consider this question.)

Let’s have several of us close out in prayer, asking God to help us be people to have the faith to go to Him in prayer no matter what our circumstances are. Let’s ask God to speak to us when we pray, telling us what we can do, but also asking Him to help us trust Him no matter how He chooses to respond when we pray.

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Rob Chagdes

Rob Chagdes

ROB CHAGDES had his life interrupted by God as a sixteen year old. In the years since he met Jesus Rob has devoted his life to working with students —for two decades now— with the goal of helping teenagers and their parents walk with Jesus in a personal way. His passion is to raise up the next generation of students and youth workers who love God and love others. Rob and his wife Leslie live in northern Iowa with their three amazing daughters.

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