"Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls: It's About Prayer

I had an aha moment while walking my dog. As I always do while walking my dog, I was listening to music on my iPhone. The playlist I was listening to was "MBGoo", a collection of songs by Matchbox Twenty and The Goo Goo Dolls. The aha moment came when I began listening closely to the lyrics of "Iris" by The Goo Goo Dolls. I realized that the song is about prayer. 

I am sure this claim will be met with some skepticism. The skepticism is not without basis. If you research the song, you will know why Rzeznik wrote the song. However, I do believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. Whether modern artists know it or not, many of their works express a truth greater than they realize. God works in mysterious ways. He sometimes is able to use those who are not aware of what He is doing. Even atheists can sometimes be influenced to produce something true, good, and beautiful. Therefore, no matter what Rzeznik's intentions were for the song, it still can be about prayer.

And I’d give up forever to touch you
’Cause I know that you feel me somehow

Here, the author speaks of a strong desire to touch the subject of the song and expresses his belief that the subject does touch him in a way he does not understand. 

The author is struggling in prayer and feels that it would be easier if he could see and touch God. Sometimes in prayer, we feel as if we are talking to no one. That is why some people pray with icons, paintings, statues, etc. They are not worshipping false idols; they are using them to help themselves focus.

Despite his struggles, he does express faith. He knows that, whether or not he feels anything in prayer, God still is able to bring grace into his life through unnoticed ways.

You’re the closest to Heaven that I’ll ever be
And I don’t wanna go home right now

"Home", as used above, refers to our ultimate home, Heaven. The author recognizes that he cannot receive the beatific vision in this life. He does not seek to death to achieve the ability to experience the Lord; rather, he asks for God to help him in his prayer life to feel his presence more deeply.

When sooner or later it’s over,
I just don’t wanna miss you tonight

Death is inevitable. The author knows that he will die eventually. In the event that death comes sooner than expected, he recognizes a need to connect with the Lord now, while he still can. Procrastination in prayer is the enemy. He does not know the hour that his life will be taken away from him.

And I don’t want the world to see me
’Cause I don’t think that they’d understand

Our culture, at the moment, is not a culture that makes it easy to be a prayerful person. For example, Tim Tebow was mocked relentlessly for expressing his faith in a public way. The author feels like he will be mocked, if he is seen praying.

When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

The reference to everything being "made to be broken" is a recognition of the fact that the world will eventually end. The second line refers to the seventh chapter of Matthew, where Jesus says He will say "I never knew you" to some at the end of time. The author does not want that to happen to him. In this moment of prayer, he wants to enter into a relationship with the Lord, so that he does not hear "I never knew you." He wants God to know him now.

This song is about prayer. It may not be about a powerful prayer experience, nor does it teach us how to pray better. The one thing it does show us is that there is beauty in being honest, telling the Lord we want to pray and be in a relationship with Him, but that we struggle with it and do not know what to do.