A prayer in C to an absent God (Lilly Wood and the Prick)

There’s a song that’s been playing on the radio a lot here in Belgium, and that is actually a big hit in this part of Europe at the moment. It has an irritating electronic beat and a looped guitar-riff that would be okay if it wouldn’t be repeated endlessly to go on on beyond forever. It also has the capacity to stay in your head until the seas will cover land and man will be no more.

Since the lyrics had something weird (like repeating something about not forgiving someone) and since I was just curious what the bleep this song was that I heard everywhere I went to google for an answer. I found out that the song in question was called ‘prayer in C’ (Robin Schulz remix) and made by some French folkband called Lilly Wood and the Prick. (not that you hear that much folk in the remix…)Lilly_wood_the_prick_and_robin_schulz-prayer_in_c_(robin_schulz_remix)_s
So I looked up the lyrics, and it turns out to be indeed some kind of prayer, but one to an absent, or maybe even non-existent God that lets evil happen. In the first verse the addressed one is blamed by the singer for ‘never saying a word nor sending a letter’ and will not be forgiven for that. The rest of the song gets more apocalyptic about life ending (both individual lives as human life and all life on Earth), and the addressed one will not be forgiven, not by the singer and not by starving children whose houses are destroyed. And when men and later even life will be over, it will not even be able to forgive itself.

I’d say that this is quite a bitter prayer, not? There’s a lot of anger directed to some god of sorts, for not letting anything know, for not saving this world, for the coming demise of humanity and life on Earth… It seems like the addressed one is either absent or disinterested as some deistic deity that put the world together and then took off its hands, or even completely non-existent.

I always found it strange how some people talk to a (to them) nonexistent God and get very angry with it sometimes. As if they would have wanted some kind of God to exist, that isn’t there.

(Another song in that category would be XTC’s ‘dear God’, which is both musically and conceptually more sophisticated, but misses the bitter apocalyptic dimension of this otherwise happy dance tune…)

Edit: Several people including Adam in the comments have been pointing out that the first word of the song is actually ‘Jah’, a short version of the biblical divine name JHWH. Very popular with rastafarians and bands like POD as the preferred name to address God. It’s also used as such in the never translated Hebrew sentence ‘Hallelujah’, which means ‘praise Jah!’.  I can’t even believe that I missed that.

Prayer in C (Lilly Wood and the Prick)
Written by Benjamin Cotto & Nili Hadida

Jah, you never said a word
You didn’t send me no letter
Don’t think I could forgive you

See our world is slowly dying
I’m not wasting no more time
Don’t think I could believe you

Jah, our hands will get more wrinkled
And our hair will be grey
Don’t think I could forgive you

And see the children are starving
And their houses were destroyed
Don’t think they could forgive you

Hey, when seas will cover lands
And when men will be no more
Don’t think you can forgive you

Jah, when there’ll just be silence
And when life will be over
Don’t think you will forgive you

(If you hear this older live version of the original folksong you’ll hear that the first word actually does sound more like ‘God’ than like the vague ‘ya’. Also keep in mind that the people who made this song probably do have French and not English as their first language.)

What do you people hear in this song?

56 responses to “A prayer in C to an absent God (Lilly Wood and the Prick)

  1. I like the song; the music is very catchy (like you mentioned). As to the lyrics, I hear the cry of a generation that sees all the crap in the world and wonders why we humans are still here. It is a song that lacks hope…yet at the same time, it is a song that really, really wants hope – they just don’t know where to find it… that is why I think the video shows them all partying and going wild. If everything is meaningless, then why now party and live for the moment?

    In some ways the song reminds me of the Book of Psalm as there are some pretty depressing, hopeless Psalms in there. The primary difference being that the author of the Psalms usually ends by saying that the Lord is great and will bring justice to the land. The “Prayer in C” song doesn’t have that ending….which means that we, the followers of the True Creator, need to get out there and tell them/people about the hope that has come through the Incarnation.

    So in ending, I think it is a good song that should serve to remind us that people are looking – even if they don’t know what they are looking for. Tis all Center Set. =P

  2. I think the song is saying just that…God we won’t forgive you

  3. Jah is how it’s spelt it means god to Jehovah’s witnesses apparently it’s short for Yahweh it’s said in the songs of praise “hallelujah” which means praise god hellelu-jah. It’s basically talking about what they believe as to be the end of the world and she is saying she and everyone else won’t forgive god if he does it.

    • you’re not the first person telling me that the opening word of the song is actually ‘Jah’. I can’t believe that I missed that. I’ve added an edit to the post, thanks!

      • I think its also very possible the word could be yeah, or you… when you look at the world, all this is happening. but I think its more directed at man kind, the greedy and evil. We are living on the edge. Humanity has the power to change things for the better. We are deciding our own fate.

  4. In the latter parts of the song, I think, one Ya is really the same Jah as in the opening. The second Ya sounds much more like Yeah though.

    • Given that the author is an atheist, the song is most likely about an absent, cruel, and ultimately fictional god:

      • Thanks for that link.
        When atheists rite about God they usually just use a subversion of the view of God they rejected (sometimes with a hint to a much more reduced view of God they could believe in)
        In this case the God is based on Abrahamic monotheism but absent and cruel (because it’s completely non-interventionist).

      • If she is an atheist, why would she write a song about a fictional God. your statement is contradicting itself.

      • “a fictional god” = a nonexistent god that people pray to, such as Zeus, Thor, Poseidon, Re, Yahweh, Christian god(s), Jesus, Muslim god, Scientology aliens, you name it…

        When we atheists write about god, many of us wonder how come adults can deceive themselves so much as to believe in these fairy tales. It appears just like wishful thinking. The main message of the song to me is that if there were a god or gods, they are indeed cruel. It is interesting that so few of the religions out there actually do believe that the god/gods hate humanity and living things and revel in suffering.

  5. Hello, great post! I heard this on Pandora and was attracted to the music. Then I heard the lyrics. I went to YouTube to see the lyrics and it started with “Ya” which I thought was short for “Yahweh” which is another word for God. It is used in the bible. Too bad it had to be a song against God, I actually did like the music. Seems dumb to not believe in God, yet write a whole song directed at Him. It is pure rejection.

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  7. I thought that it was addressed to God at one point… Read and listen to the lyrics it talks about the land full of water and someone not writing anything to warned us… If you are smart you should know that God did write about everything in the bible so it’s not referring to God it’s referring to the Gov… They know what’s going on and they are not telling or writing about Climate Changes that will end up covering the land full of water…

    • Only certain traditions of Christians do believe that the prophecies in revelation describe what’s happening in our time. The people who write the song are secular Europeans (more or less, French-Israelian band with a German remixer) and the chance that they have such views about the bible is minimal. Secular Jewish influence (Jah is a Jewish name for God) would reject the bible (and not even consider the NT) but doesn’t keep people from wresting with questions about God…

      Your ‘gov’ conspiracy theory sounds way too American to me, I don’t think Europeans think that way… There is no way in which governments would be able to survive and have problems forgiving themselves after the extinction of mankind in a flood caused by global warming either.

    • So the only smart people on the earth are ones that read the bible?. what make your religion any more correct than any other religion.? why are more wars fought over religion than anything else.? you comment “if you are smart you should know that god did write about everything in the bible” is negative and seems somewhat degrading. I think someone that spends every sunday afternoon planting trees is more useful than someone sitting in church worshiping god. I mean honestly wouldn’t god rather have us out protecting the planet he gave us and helping eachother vs. worshiping every hour of the day. Also lets say that this particular tree planter was Jewish or even Muslim. Would an all loving God really send good people to hell because they were raised with different beliefs.? What if they brainwashed to be Jewish the same way you were brainwashed to be Christian.? an eternal fire, that sounds more scary than any modern film I have ever seen. hell sounds evil. the bible talks of eternal torture. Wouldn’t you agree that to torture any good person is evil? How about eternal torture? IF god made Hell, and really puts good loving people in it, than he must have an evil side. If somehow i was god and made all the rules, there is no way I would be so immoral. If i died and went to hell, and my mom went to heaven, wouldn’t she be sad forever in heaven because she knows i’m stuck in hell.That would be an eternal punishment for her. think about it, things don’t add up.

    • FYI – God did not write the bible, humans did.

      • Claudia Blasi


  8. The best way to find out the meaning is to watch the video… It’s talking about a city; As you can see at the beginning of the video they are driving around the city with a black flag with a skull meaning rebellion against the Gov. Next it’s a guy that walks in a store and steals alcohol meaning that the town economy it’s low… Girl looks at the city with a sad face, streets are tagged meaning corruption and the only way to get their thoughts and feelings out and feel free it’s by hanging out, dancing, drinking partying, skateboarding … Meaning a group of people that has rebelled against the Gov. by Posting skull stickers on the stop lights, traffic signs trying to send a message to the city… It has nothing to do with God or the entire world it talks about a corrupt city that Government does not help or do anything to make it better… young kids will grow old and things will continue the same and the Gov will not be forgiven for such thing… At the end of the video you see a group of teens hugging each other while they view the city from the top of a roof while the metro passes by…. Does it make sense now???

    • Actually it does have to do with god. Robin Schulz said lily wood & the prick made the song to criticize religion. The video is supposed to portray both ends of emotion. Euforia and sadness.


    • Yah, you never said a word
      You didn’t send me no letter
      Don’t think I could forgive you

      Gov is saying a lot of “words” and “letters” 🙂

  9. Where did you find the prayer in which it is based? I’ve been looking for it and can’t find it!

  10. CristaforaColumblah

    Honestly, I think the song IS about god & she is mad at god because he doesn’t notice her… But God does notice he sees & hears all prayers even silent ones. But the song could also be about an ex lover and when she says ‘our world is slowly dying’ she was probably talking about the feelings she had for the ex… Or it could be about god.. I’m not sure though.. But as I said goes does care for you & even if it seems like he doesn’t he’s actually closer to you than anyone in this world is & he LOVES you more than your parents or anyone or anything will. Hope this helped :)♥️

  11. In fact, the lyrics are beginning with “Yah” which is the short hebrew form of Yahweh. Keep in mind that the female vocalist “Lilly Wood” is actually Nili Hadida from Israel so it just makes sense to use this version of the name. Lyrics everywhere on the internet are wrong saying “Yeah” which is clearly not the case as there is an “yeah” in one verse and it sounds VERY different.

  12. God created this beautiful world and we ruined it … so god shouldnot forgive us

  13. Good luck with your god. Praying to him is as pointless as praying to a can of soda. Believing in imaginary friends throughout adulthood is a sign of mental illness. I never understood how mature educated people could still believe in such things.

    • If you want imaginary friends, create your own: http://www.tulpa.info/
      If you want to comment on a post, please see that whatever you say has at least something to do with the topic of the post.
      And if you want to spout uninformed nonsense about religion, go find some atheist forum or so…
      peace to you….

  14. I think the message is clear. God will be the one that will not forgive itself after men will have gone and just silence remains. I think Yah is the word that they are singing, and the video has more sense if you realize that Cycle “C” is related with the Apocalypse.

  15. In my personal opinion I think its more of a wake up call to humanity. Every decision we make is effecting our sensitive Earth’s ecosystem. The song poses to a warning to humanity. When she states “the children they were starving and there houses were destroyed” this would be similar to Africa, modern slave labor, and oil companies poisoning water supplies in different countries that are less fortunate than ours. I think the song is points in the direction of the elites that run everything, if they continue on the path of greed and wealth its going to poison the earth and they wont be able to forgive themselves because the earth will become an uninhabitable place. I also hear no reference to any type of religion. In a way religion contributes to a majority of the problems. A lot of Christians believe that Jesus will return and save everyone before things go to crap. God or no god, we as humans need to take the health of the planate seriously. Jesus might not be due to come back for another 50,000 years….. God/Jesus might be giving man the opportunity to decide when that time will be. Fukashema in japan is leaking nuclear wast into the oceans, bombs are being tested in the upper atmosphere, food is being genetically modified by scientist and then fed to you… The song is pointing out a very dark possible reality for the future of our earth. I do not think it makes any clear reference to hating god, or any of that. to each its own. Would be cool if we could keep this planate nice for the future generations

  16. I think it’s about how lives are worthless to the corporate world . The people running the world have put the gullible willing people in a fence like a herd of cows. Carefully shaping the minds of the lower class (To them we are all lower class) people in this world into being consumers and feeling like they need something material time and time again. Consumerism is the lifeline to capitalism. At the end of the day the money made working goes back to purchases. They give us a small allowance for physically running the world and then milk us into debt. Meanwhile there are people who live in what seems like an opposite world with nothing and nobody cares about them.

  17. She even says Yahweh, where it states on other sites “hey” which is also a term for God to some. This is directed at which ever God is responsible for us, as some would be believe one is.

  18. My first impression of the song, the first time I heard it and really listened to the lyrics, I thought it was talking to us. The western world. or the government. I didn’t think it was talking to GOD or anything like that. I think the title of the song makes people go directly to God but I first heard it without knowing the title so I mean I think it is directed to us.

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  20. Then why the title “Prayer in C”? Why not…”Don’t think I can Forgive you” hint? or publicity stunt? hmmm

    • Actually, the word prayer can have non-religious meaning and have none religious context. Like to have hope. I have no idea to what the meaning is of th song but, I enjoyed the different inturputations except the religious ones that had nothing to add to the thread. The other religious ones were fine.

  21. I think its prayer in Christ, as “prayer in Christ” I think she did C for people who do not believe religion

  22. I think that since it is a French band they are blaming God for the recent terrorists attacks in France… I don’t know for sure of that but it could be that

    • The song was a big hit already long before the attacks, and it’s a remix of an even older version that is years old. So unless they have a time machine or at least a chronoscope to view the future that doesn’t sound very plausible…

  23. Who ever wrote this song is blaming God for man’s distruction. God does not step in because he gave us free will. We need to fix this not him. We need to help each other. We made the bed so we have to lay in it. One day when God had enough he will step in. Be always prepare for his return. Amen

  24. After reading bible for the first time,the first thing popped to this woman’s mind was…ill never forgive him…after reading bible for the first time,i thought in week or so,God will reappear…hope vs reality?

  25. cheyenne mendel

    Ultimate song about “where are you God?” Is U2 “Wake up Deadman.”

  26. I hear love.

  27. I like this song because it is what some might think feel or have similar question about? No matter where you are, who your family is or what you believe …there is also what is taught ..example the Bible
    And if the meaning is taken as a statement of unassurance and not trusting belief by the actual real happenings of our world today.. Then maybe it is just that. and meant to be shared so that we can find comfort in knowing we are not alone in our questions and thoughts of trying to understand why we are here in our shared world
    There is a lot of emotions in this song and it is always up to us all to hear it listen to the words and the beat and take time to feel what we want or need from it share or not and like it or not ….I will not try to get to the very root and all about the exact meaning or reasoning ..I will enjoy as I feel …what I know and will be reminded of through this song … Share the love there is a lot of love to share

  28. This song seems to forget the misuse of our free will and that we will be forgiven if we ask.

  29. I heard they’re aetheist and most atheist dont always start out as aethiest. They can start out believing in a God and then something bad happens in their life or something tragic and they blame God for letting it happen. I believe this is what this song is about.

  30. Whatever else you might say about it, it’s a song for our times…there are a lot of people, factions, corporations, institutions, governments, that I will not forgive, nor should the other 7 billion of us on the planet. If it is a prayer, it is an angry one and a conundrum. How can you pray to a God you don’t believe in? I guess she is hedging her bets, which is to say, she’s all like, “I don’t believe in you God, but if you happen to be there, you’re an asshole! I won’t forgive you for this!”

  31. Do blame God for the evil that happens. The world is like this because of us. We hate each other to the point of starting wars and demoralize our systems. Then we blame the God who gave us a way out of this mess(John 3:16) and brought us purpose when we had rejected him and continue to live lives for ourselves. Our rebellion and low morals is what needs to be examined, not the God who stands for all that is just and pure. He didn’t bring this over our heads. We did. We messed up. We pay the consequences. But Christ gives us a way out of chaos and sin into his community.

  32. What is more interesting is that the last two paragraphs seems to see an answer from that “god”. If you read carefully, it says
    “Hey, when seas will cover lands
    And when men will be no more
    Don’t think you can forgive you”
    like an answer to that lack of responsibility of the same humans of the actual world situation and where we going. Maybe a reference of how us blame nonexistent things about things that we are causing?

  33. Realize I’m late to the party and haven’t read all the comments so this may have already been covered – TLDR, sorry. However, would like to point out that ‘Jah’ is probably not the the normative pronunciation of the first letter of the name of God in Hebrew. In fact, ‘ya’ is closer to the correct pronunciation – as in Yahweh, or the Tetragrammaton – YHVH or YHWH which has been transliterated into modern languages as Yahweh or Jehovah.

  34. I take it as a song to the ego. The creator of illusions that we assume to be God but is no more God than the Man in the Moon. When ego is no more neither will this world. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve the ego. The ego does not want us to forgive it or it will die & so too all that we deem reality.

  35. The most tragic and ironic part of this “prayer” is that God did, indeed, send a “letter.” The Bible! All of the complaints in this song are found in the Bible. God does care, has warned the world and provided a solution in the form of His only Son dying for our sins. All we have to do is accept His help. Unfortunately humanity is more interested in staying bitter than accepting Him so we are self-fulfilling the prophecies. It’s not God’s fault – it’s ours.

    • Thank you for making that clear. i like the song but was confused of what is was saying. Most of us know the truth :]

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  37. Loved this song when I thought it was about a woman pissed at an ex, love it even more now, knowing the song addresses humankind’s complicated relationship with its own imagination.

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