George Michael was quoted in the September edition of The New York Times regarding this song, he said: “No event inspired the song. It’s my way of trying to figure out why it’s so hard for people to be good to each other. I believe the problem is conditional as opposed to being something inherent in mankind. The media has affected everybody’s consciousness much more than most people will admit. Because of the media, the way the world is perceived is as a place where resources and time are running out. We’re taught that you have to grab what you can before it’s gone. It’s almost as if there isn’t time for compassion.”
During MTV’s Rockumentary, George Michael analyzed the meaning of ‘Praying for Time’ and explained why he decided to explore different subject matters on ‘Listen Without Prejudice’ album, he said: “There comes a point where you have to write something which you have not written before and which your interest in any particular topic or subject will inspire you, and that’s why I suppose, eventually, most lyricists do approach wider topics than sex and love, you know? (Lyrics: These are the days of the open hand, they will not be the last, Look around now, these are the days, Of the beggars and the choosers)
The ‘open hand’ to me represents the vast numbers of people, specifically in this country, who are actually on the poverty line or below the poverty line, which is something that’s going to go on and I like the idea of ‘beggars and the choosers’ because you take a phrase, what’s the phrase, ‘beggars can’t be choosers,’ and you completely change it. In other words, ‘the beggars and the choosers’ and nothing in-between, which was really my point, because it does seem to be not that much in-between these days.
(Lyrics: This is the year of the hungry man, Whose place is in the past, Hand in hand with ignorance, And legitimate excuses) That verse is really about the fact that the hungry men of today are completely, where there is a full knowledge of them, people know what’s going on, in this country and abroad, and the legitimate excuse of yesterday was that ignorance and that’s gone, obviously. So, in other words, the hungry man today is a well-known fact.” (Lyrics: I guess somewhere along the way, He must have let us all out to play, Turned his back and all God’s children, Crept out the back door) He continued: “I’ve always liked the term ‘God’s children,’ somehow as though we were that innocent, in a way, and the idea being that we ran out on God, in a sense – ‘crept out the back door’ – and because of that we’re left to make our own decisions. ‘We’ll take our chances because God stopped keeping score,’ like saying there’s no one here to pull back the reins so we have to make our own decisions.”
Release Date: August 13, 1990
Songwriter/s: George Michael
Chart Rankings: In the US, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary Charts. In the UK, it reached number 6 on the Official Charts Company. The song topped the charts in Canada and reached the top 10 charts in The Netherlands, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. In Germany it reached number 19 and in Australia it peaked at number 16.
Artist’s age on Release Date: Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou aka George Michael was 27 years old when he released this song.
Cover Versions: Carrie Underwood – Caitlyn Vanbeck – Nell Bryden – very few Youtubers covered this song.