Madonna Said ‘Like a Prayer’ Is About a Girl in Love With God

Madonna released songs about numerous subjects, including pregnancy, voguing, and American life. During an interview, Madonna said “Like a Prayer” is about a girl who falls in love with God. She also discussed her relationship to religion. “Like a Prayer” had a massive impact on the world.

Madonna sitting
Madonna | Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal

Madonna’s struggles with the ‘magic’ of Catholicism inspired her album ‘Like a Prayer’

In 1989, Madonna released one of her most famous albums: Like a Prayer. The album was more serious and personal than her previous releases. It focused on themes of religion, family issues, and feminism.

During an interview with The New York Times, she discussed how religion impacted the album. “The theme of Catholicism runs rampant through my album,” Madonna said. “It’s me struggling with the mystery and magic that surrounds it.”

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Why Madonna wanted to be a nun when she was a child

Subsequently, Madonna explained her relationship to religion. “My own Catholicism is in constant upheaval,” she revealed. “When I left home at 17 and went to New York, which is the city with the most sinners, I renounced the traditional meaning of Catholicism in terms of how I would live my life. But I never stopped feeling the guilt and shame that are ingrained in you if you are brought up Catholic.”

Madonna said the title track of “Like a Prayer” was about romantic feelings toward the divine. “[‘Like a Prayer’] is the song of a passionate young girl so in love with God that it is almost as though He were the male figure in her life,” she said. “From around 8 to 12 years old, I had the same feelings. I really wanted to be a nun.”

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The way the world reacted to ‘Like a Prayer’

“Like a Prayer” was a massive hit for the Queen of Pop. The track lasted 16 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. It spent three of those weeks at No. 1. Like a Prayer was very popular as well. It lasted 77 weeks on the Billboard 200, staying at the top of the chart for six weeks. In addition, it produced four other top 20 singles: “Cherish,” “Express Yourself,” “Keep It Together,” and “Dear Father.”

“Like a Prayer” became popular in the United Kingdom too. According to The Official Charts Company, the song spent 13 weeks on the U.K. chart. It was No. 1 for three weeks. The song’s parent album reached No. 1 and stayed on the chart for 73 weeks. Meanwhile, three other songs from the album reached the top 5: “Cherish,” “Express Yourself,” and “Dear Jessie.” In addition, the cast of Glee covered the title track. “Like a Prayer” might have an unorthodox subject matter; however, that didn’t stop it from becoming a hit in the U.S. and the U.K.

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