Music

Garth Brooks' 'Unanswered Prayers': The Story Behind the Song

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"Unanswered Prayers," a No. 1 hit from country legend Garth Brooks, helped keep the 1990 album No Fences at the top of the charts for 30 weeks. The song is one of Brooks' most popular of all time and it's actually based on his real life.

Brooks and his first wife Sandy went back to his hometown of Oklahoma and ran into his old high school girlfriend at the football game. He was struck by the sensation that, in high school, this was the girl he had wanted and prayed for. But that went unanswered, and he met someone much better for him. On the inside of the CD booklet, he explained the tracks process with his co-writers and how personal the song is and was to him:

"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."

Read More: The Garth Brooks Family: A Look at His Longtime Band

"Unanswered Prayers" was Brooks' follow-up single to his smash hit "Friends in Low Places." The song remains one of Brooks' most beloved hits.

'Unanswered Prayers' Lyrics:

Just the other night at a hometown football game

My wife and I ran into my old high school flame

And as I introduced them the past came back to me

And I couldn't help but think of the way things used to be

 

She was the one that I'd wanted for all times

And each night I'd spend prayin' that God would make her mine

And if he'd only grant me this wish I wished back then

I'd never ask for anything again

 

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers

Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs

That just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care

Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

 

She wasn't quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams

And I could tell that time had changed me

In her eyes too it seemed

We tried to talk about the old days

There wasn't much we could recall

I guess the Lord knows what he's doin' after all

 

And as she walked away and I looked at my wife

And then and there I thanked the good Lord

For the gifts in my life

 

Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers

Remember when you're talkin' to the man upstairs

That just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care

Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered

Some of God's greatest gifts are all too often unanswered

Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers

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Garth Brooks' 'Unanswered Prayers': The Story Behind the Song