It was only yesterday
When I heard the teacher say
Patiently, one and two make three
We were children, you and me
Let us pray for the ones they call
The children of today

Nothin' left but promises
Nothin' much is certain
All we see is want and need across the board,
Why thank you lord
We're livin' in the glory of your care
Skies of blue have all turned brown
To the sound of cryin
Lord abide, let us stem the tide
Of broken dreams
Sometimes you seem to tell us
It's too late for prayin'

See the ocean wild and blue
Think of all that's in her
She will not surrender to the likes of us,
But then she must
They tell us, wise men tell us, it's too late
For each child with eyes that smile
There'll be ten more cryin'
Lord abide, let us stem the time
Of helplessness
But then I guess we're livin'
Is it too late for prayin'

Nothin' here but grains of sand
Nothin' much worth savin'
Guess we've all got problems of our own to bear,
And still we share
Tomorrow could get better than today
To the ones who've loved in vain
Will ya be beholden
Lord abide, let us stem the tide
Of broken dreams
Sometimes ya seem to tell us
It's too late for prayin

Lyrics submitted by ButNeverOutgunned

"Too Late for Prayin'" as written by Gordon Lightfoot

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Too Late For Prayin' song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentThis song suddenly flashed into my thoughts as I woke up this morning. I had been thinking about a lullaby song unique for one of my grandkids - something to play with my guitar and sing at bedtime. I want the gk to have a memory of me, and of us, calming down together for the night with some decent music.

    This one just might do - there aren't many like it. Even though the tune is sweet and suited for a lullaby, the lyrics are a bit ominous, even distressing.

    I don't know the first thing about Lightfoot's religious or political beliefs, but in this song, he seems at turns to be despairing and shaking his fist at a deity, and preaching against the ineptitude of human government. I think I detect a bit of environmentalism, with regret, bitter frustration, and some anger. He seems to be mocking the notion that there would be a God, who would permit generation after generation of humans to spoil the planet with pollution and ruin, all the while destroying its own species with cruelty to its own - including and especially its children. Saying "It's too late for praying" seems to assert that, God or no God, it's up to people to take full responsibility for what they do - how they behave toward one another and toward their "mother ship" - and deal with the damage they have done (and remain ever capable of doing worse and worse).

    For small children, hearing this tune and its lyrics at bedtime might be soothing, while at the same time introducing the expression, at least, of thoughts they will come to understand better over time, little by little, so that they can learn to apply their understanding in their own thoughtful, faith-based ways.

    One child at a time, the next generation might discard this song as a lullaby for their kids and grandkids. Or, they might pass it along, with the same hopes and fears that preceded their time, and with healthy concern about the same things that their parents and grandparents were concerned about (but maybe, not concerned enough about to "stem the tide"). Kids might actually need to hear this song today, to develop a sense of mission beyond the day they just lived through.

    Well, I don't want my grandchild to over-think a familiar lullaby into a promise of nightmares to come, and suddenly realize that the pretty tune masks words of dire meaning. But, I do think this song is one gentle way of "letting them down easy." Kids have to grow up, past "one and two make three." So, part of helping them do that is to help them see what a mess they are inheriting. We can only hope that some future generation will and can turn those brown skies blue again.
    Hipnoticedon April 03, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of the greatest, most moving, thought-provoking and haunting lyrics ever written by THE greatest musical icon from Canada. I am saddened and touched every single time I hear this classic. It angers me this song was never charted. Certainly Top 10 material. The whole album is the work of genius and one of my all-time favorite albums of all time. Heck, my young kids love the album, too! I wore out my vinyl copy, which I still have; so, I also got the CD. God bless Gord and Lenny Waronker.
    harry s.10on February 17, 2018   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top