Okereke explained on his record label's website that the lyrics for this song came easier than the others on the album: "It's weird, all these lyrics, save this one, I agonized over for month and months and months. Whereas this one started off with a different feel, perspective. Garrett [producer Jackknife Lee] really encouraged me to try and do something that wasn't quite so meticulous. One of the best lyrics in pop history is "Milkshake
" by Kelis - 'my milk shake brings all the boys to the yard, I'd teach you but I'd have to charge.' It's such a sinister image. It doesn't mean anything, or it means the whole world. Is she a prostitute? Is she working in a milk bar? It has such a dark undercurrent. So with this song I was trying to cut my mind off from trying to rationalize everything. The first words just came to me. I wanted it to be something that would move people on to the dancefloor but in a real throwaway way. I think there's great validity in telling people that you don't have to try and over intellectualize everything. With 'The Prayer,' I was trying not to think.So, that's what came through: this idea of success. There's something really bold there. Something really... not us! We're seen as a polite and serious band. But I wanted to do something that wasn't about that at all."