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Pray (Justin Bieber) (Canada)
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It's easy to forget about all the hunger, the suffering and the needs of others when we are living an easy life. But it's our brothers and sisters who are crying out there in the cold. I don't know if this moving song is just marketing or not, but the message is powerful, something we should all remember.

It certainly takes courage in today's world to be a Christian and confess so, especially for a teenager, but Justin has always been quite open about it. In different interviews about what inspires him he normally says, "My mom, dad, and God."

Justin told Ryan Seacrest on his radio show on November 17, 2010: "It's a very uplifting song, very motivational. It definitely comes from the heart. It's very beautiful. I definitely thought of Michael [Jackson's] 'Man In The Mirror,' when I was writing it."

Ohh Ohh Ohh .. and I pray

I just can't sleep tonight.
Knowing that things ain't right.
It's in the papers, it's on the TV
It's everywhere that I go.
Children are crying.
Soldiers are dying
Some people don't have a home

But I know there's sunshine beyond that rain
I know there's good times beyond that pain, hey
Can you tell me how I can make a change

I close my eyes and I can see a better day
I close my eyes and pray
I close my eyes and I can see a better day
I close my eyes and pray

I lose my appetite (can't eat, can't eat)
Knowing kids starve tonight.
Am I a sinner cause half my dinner is still there on my plate
Ooo I got a vision, to make a difference.
And it's starting today.

Cause I know there's sunshine beyond that rain
I know there's good times beyond that pain
Heaven tell me I can make a change

I close my eyes and I can see a better day
I close my eyes and pray
I close my eyes and I can see a better day

I close my eyes and I pray
For the broken-hearted.
I pray for the life not started
I pray for all the mouths not breathing.
I pray for all the souls in need. I pray.
Can you give 'em one today.

I just can't sleep tonight
Can someone tell me how to make a change?

I close my eyes and I can see a better day
I close my eyes and pray
I close my eyes and I can see a better day
I close my eyes and I pray

I pray, I pray

I close my eyes and pray ...

PRAY= Talk to God. (a PRAYER is what you say to God or the act of talking to God)

AIN'T= (coll.) Aren't.
This is the negative form of the present tense of "to be" and "to have" for all persons.

PAPERS= Newspapers (IN the papers, ON television).

BEYOND= Farther away than.

MAKE A CHANGE= Do something to change things for the better; have my little contribution to make things better:
- We can all make a change to save our planet if we recycle.
- I'm here to make a change, so how can I help?
- Thanks for your company, that really made a change.
- A little contribution can make a change.


APPETITE= Hunger. If you lose your appetite you are not hungry anymore.

KIDS= (coll.) Children.

STARVE= If you are starving, you are dying because you have no food to eat. (Also, figuratively, we can say "I'm starving" meaning "I'm very very hungry"). It should be "kids are starving tonight" but that wouldn't fit the rythm of the song.

A SINNER= Someone who is not doing the right thing from a religious and moral point of view.

CAUSE= (coll.) Because.

A VISION= /vɪʒən/ A vision may be a powerful image you get into your imagination (as coming from outside) or it may be something you see or think you see outside your head, as existing outside your head.

HEAVEN= God.

HEAVEN TELL ME= May God tell me..., I wish God told me..., God, tell me please...
This "tell" is not a present (or it should be "tells"). It is a subjunctive (expressing something unreal), and in modern English it is usually replaced by the use of the auxiliary MAY. It is often used to express a hope or a wish (especially concerning God):
- God save the Queen = May God save the Queen
- God bless you = May God bless you, I hope God will bless you

THE BROKEN-HEARTED= People suffering emotionally.
We can use THE + ADJECTIVES to refer to all the people having that quality (the poor = people who are poor / the rich, the old, the young, etc)

FOR THE LIFE NOT STARTED= For all the babies killed before birth (abortion).

FOR ALL THE MOUTHS NOT BREATING= I suppose this is a reference to the dead or people who just died.

SOULS= Spirits.

IN NEED= If you are in need, you need help.

'EM= (coll.) Them.

CAN YOU GIVE 'EM ONE TODAY= Can you pray for them today? (one = a prayer)

Justin Bieber himself revealed why he wrote this song:

"There’s so many songs about [romantic] love and I think that it’s great to take it out of that world for a minute. There’s other things that are important and I just wanted to be motivational. It’s a very uplifting song, very motivational, it definitely comes from the heart. I think everybody young or old will be able to relate to this song."

Although it sounds like a sad song full of distress, it is in fact an inspirational song full of hope for a better future under a Christian perspective of the promise of a better world (the New Jerusalem).

First he just feels bad about the situation of many people suffering ("I just can't sleep tonight"). Many people uncomfortably turn their thoughts away from all that and prefer to ignore it, but he doesn't, he wants to do something about it ("Can you tell me how I can make a change?"). The whole song is a prayer to God, so he's asking God to inspire him so he can make a difference. And that inspiration arrives in the form of hope ("I close my eyes and I can see a better day") which will result in a call for action.

From a Christian point of view, we are all responsible for those who are in need ("Am I a sinner cause half my dinner is still there on my plate"), and charity is one of our main duties to others, so just praying and wishing for a better day is not enough, we have to work for the coming of that day ("I got a vision to make a difference, and it's starting today").

So to sum it up, what Justin is telling here is a personal experience where he felt abashed for being so rich while other people are suffering. In pain, he prayed to God for inspiration, and God inspired him and showed him that everything can be alright if we work for a better world, so Justin decides to start working for that day starting today.

Now, the question is, how did Justin decide to make a change? What's he doing about it? Well, that is (or should be) private and something well beyond this song, though the images on the video suggest he's already doing something about it.

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