Bedtime Prayer For Adults
Bedtime Meditations and Ritual Ideas for Children (and Adults!)
“I nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” – Dr Seuss
The prayer of the evening is quite un the morning. The morning is stark, simplistic… and serious. Often pulling teeth. The prayers and meditations of the evening, however, are usually ones of celebration.
And what better way to celebrate and give gratitude for life, than to do it as well as a child? Here are some bedtime meditations and rituals for kids that, whether you have children or not, you might to try:
1) Set Up The Right Environment
Lighting an oil burner with a few drops of lavender oil about an hour before bed will have you relaxing into the bedtime mood and sets a spiritual tone for the wind-down. Another idea is to burn a candle. Better yet, to set it on a ‘nature table’ or altar that you or your children add to daily.
Think of all those walks you go on and try to remember to bring something back each time. It’s an automatic celebration of the day. Look! We found a feather and we’re going to place it on the nature table. What do feathers mean? Oo, we’re going to receive a message from our angels. Very magical and a perfectly enchanting way to enter to bedroom and help with the transition into sleep.When you light your candle, dedicate it to someone. It can be a worldly prayer for peace or a simple nod of thought to your neighbour who seems a bit distracted lately.
It doesn’t matter how accurately worded it is, but this dedication helps your child to become a thoughtful, compassionate person without lecturing them, or simply help you attract good vibes and loving kindness-type karma worthy of a dedicated monk.
2) Use Song For Transitions.
This is especially effective for children as they quickly pick up the cues and it’s better than breaking the atmosphere to nag them – will you stop bouncing on the bed and lie down! ‘Quiet voices, calm bodies’ in a simple tune will work. As does ‘Starlight, star-bright, who shall we light this candle for tonight?’
3) Use Angel Cards or Colour In
Oracle cards, most famously published by Doreen Virtue or meditation or tarot cards can also be a nice ‘thought for the day’ and the more provoking and imaginative the images, the better. Children will love this ritual of picking their card and placing it on the altar/nature table, but this can also be a nice way to start the day.
If you have a child who is particularly energetic, this time can also be used to encourage them to draw with crayons simply for the act of doing it.
Drawing calms them, and you can do it with them to also calm yourself (note the recent trend of adult colouring books) Doing a ‘right we’re going to chose two colours then completely cover our paper with them’ or colouring in a shape will be more calming than drawing an epic picture of mummy, daddy and the goldfish, which might spark conversation and excitement.
Use fun but firm rules than forbid talking whilst drawing and try not to react when the picture is complete, instead adding it to a communal pile of ‘dream pictures’ or something similar. These can be used in the day or given as gifts.
Or, if your child is feeling a bit off, used as an ‘feeling drawing’ where it helps them to externalize their emotions. Again, this works as a good transition into bedtime if there’s been a tantrum or lots of battles over getting to sleep.
You can often find cheap second-hand books or cards on children’s yoga with five or six poses that reference animals or magical creatures. Mermaid pose, tree, mountain, cobra, butterfly, camel, bear… sounds exciting already doesn’t it?!
Yoga is great for physically active children and those that need to work off their extra energy before bedtime.
Don’t force them to join in, but simply go through the poses you’re telling a story and they will imitate you eventually.If you don’t have cards or a book then stick to three or four at first and encourage them to breathe during the poses or gently rock. They can also do them in bed when they can’t sleep.
My kids resisted for a while, then were letting out little whoops of joy when it came to ‘yoga baby time’.
This one’s my favourite. Try not to stick to a script but rely on your own imagination and presence. With breath it can be incredibly difficult for children to grasp – perhaps because their breathing is more natural and their bodies less tense anyway – but it is possible to teach them pranayama; breath control.
You could start by saying something :
Now close your eyes and lay back, because Grandmother moon is rising in the sky and Mother night is laying her cloak over the world. The rabbits in their burrows are curling up, whiskers becoming one with their mother’s fur, and the world is at peace.
Encourage them to listen to the sounds around them, including ‘listening’ to silence.
Hear the gap between my words growing longer, and notice your belly rising and falling. All of the day is melting away as you sink deeper into the bed beneath you.
Some ideas for explaining how to breathe:
Breathe in through your nose to smell the flowers, and out to blow it a kiss of thanks.
Breathe in sucking the ocean tide towards you, and out to push it away from the shore.
Breathe in to make the candle flame brighter, then out to make it flicker.
A focus on the breath can be used as many times as your child responds, but a mention about noting how they feel in their bodies as an introduction to meditation can also prepare them for a more in-depth meditation when they’re eight years and older.
6) Read a Story
Imagination stories work wonderfully with a child’s imagination and will encourage them to create their own. Try asking them to give you the characters so they’re participating. For example: one plant or tree, one animal and one form of weather or natural element; fog, snow, rainbow etc.
But once the beginning ‘creation’ is decided on let them lie back and just listen so they don’t use the opportunity to lengthen bedtime hour unnecessarily! Alternatively you could read them a chapter from a longer book, the sort they will be reading in a few years time to exercise and open up that love of reading and further calm them by encouraging them to use their listening ears.
Brahms ‘Lullaby’ is a classic and can also be used as a transition between bedtime activities. You might find cuddling and singing together nice, helping you to bond with your kids, or you might prefer them to simply listen to the songs or to put on a CD, but try to avoid technologies if you can.
Chants that aren’t too dark or intense are good such as Om mani padme hum or Govinda jaya jaya (I guess it depends on the melody), as well as uplifting gospel songs such as Gonna build a mountain or Oh happy day.
Swing low sweet chariot and Amazing grace also help to encourage a connection and dialogue with the divine, even if you’re not Christian. And finally, folk songs from all over the world will open them up to different cultures.Pacha Mama I’m coming home from Peru, My Lagan Love from Ireland and Dandini Dandini Dastana from Turkey are just a few.
So if your intention is teaching your children to become more in touch with their emotional states and bodies, get creative with that final hour before you get some precious time to yourself.
Or simply find a way that is not as drastic as drugging them to get them to calm down and begin to practice a spiritual connection with the night.
These ideas are just the beginning of the many things you can do to bond and create magical memories with your child, children… or just yourself.
Singing Children of Africa
Two Bedtime Prayers for Weary Parents
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God has called parents to a difficult task.
We are called to prevent the giant pile of children’s laundry from overtaking the house, cook meals for picky eaters and clean up never-ending messes.
But most importantly, we are given the eternally significant duty to “bring [our children] up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
It can be a tiresome undertaking. Some days you plunge headlong into another challenging day of childrearing, praying God will help you make it to bedtime alive.
After the bath and toothbrushing, and fetching a glass of water, and the search for the lost stuffed animal, and the barrage of excuses trying to delay lights out, you’re tempted to skip prayer time, say a quick goodnight, shut the door and crumb into the nearest sofa.
I want to suggest two modest prayers to help you slow down during those moments when you tuck the kids into bed. This isn’t a list of theoretical principles or a 15-item list of prayer requests for your kids.
Weary parents need simple and memorable prayers.
When your mind is still spinning from the day’s labors, may these three-word prayers enable you to take the few extra moments to linger with your children in the quietness of bedtime.
“Father, forgive me.”
The best way to avoid putting your children to bed in frustration or anger is to remind yourself and your kids that you, too, are a sinner in need of forgiveness.
Confess your parenting failures to God before your children. Plead with him to protect your children from your anger, lack of patience and failure to display the gospel in all its glory.
Ask the Father for forgiveness in front of your children.
In doing so, you set an example for your children. They see what it looks to be a child of God. Our Father does not want us to hide our sins from him or one another.He wants us to confess them so that he can “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). In the still moments before they fall asleep, they will get to listen as you experience reconciliation with the Father anew.
They get to watch as the grace of the gospel washes over your spirit, reviving your weary soul.
I often look into the eyes of my little boys after they have hit their brother or yelled in disobedient anger, searching with the question: “Why did you do this?” The most common response I receive is: “I don’t know.
” In those sad moments, I’m reminded of Christ’s prayer as he hung on the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That is the state of our children’s hearts. When they sin, they don’t always fully comprehend what they’ve done or why they’ve done it.
As parents, we must imitate Jesus by pleading for God’s mercy and forgiveness for our kids with the simple prayer, “Father, forgive them.”
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Each night, God will begin to cultivate in us the compassionate heart of Jesus. He sees our children as “harassed and helpless, sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
As we pray, the irritations of the day will melt into gentle, soft pleading on behalf of our children who do not comprehend the wrath that awaits sinful and grumbling souls who do not repent.
When it comes to this kind of intercessory prayer, Paul tells us, “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3–4).
Ultimately, this is a prayer of trust. It tells God, “I trust you with the life of this child. I trust the gospel. I trust that you want to save sinners, just my little boy, my little girl.” God has placed that child in your family and under your loving care for a purpose. Plead with him to forgive through the blood of Jesus and pray that in his good time he will bring salvation.Both prayers begin with one of the most gracious words in the Christian parent’s vocabulary: Father.
In the midst of parenting failures and struggles, it’s easy to forget that we have a heavenly Father who is watching over us in love.
No one can put it better than the apostle: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are!” (1 John 3:1).
At the end of a taxing day, as you kneel bedside with your kids, find comfort in the Father who is also laying your tired heart to rest. The final moments before your children fall asleep could become your most treasured moments together. May these prayers help your family grow in the grace of God our Savior.
10 Popular Bedtime Prayers
Here are 10 popular bedtime prayers to teach your children. Don’t use these prayers just to give your children something to say before going to bed. Help your children learn what these prayers mean and why we pray. Obviously, we can pray any time of the day, but having a set time where we teach our children to pray may help instill in them a lifetime habit of talking with the Lord.
I have attributed some of these prayers to their authors. If you know who the original author of the other prayers are, please include their names in the comments below. Or, if you know which book they originally appeared in, leave us a comment.
Don’t use these prayers just to give your children something to say before going to bed. Help your children learn what these prayers mean and why we pray.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
Some people may find this prayer a little too heavy for little children, however it is probably one of the best-known prayers that children say at night.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
Now the Light has Gone Away
Now the light has gone away;
Savior, listen while I pray.
Asking Thee to watch and keep
And to send me quiet sleep.
Jesus, Savior, wash away
All that has been wrong to-day;
Help me every day to be
Good and gentle, more Thee.
Let my near and dear ones be
Always near and dear to Thee.
O bring me and all I love
To Thy happy home above.
The Day is Done
The day is done;
O God the Son,
Look down upon
Thy little one!
O Light of Light,
Keep me this night,
And shed round me
Thy presence bright.
I need not fear
If Thou art near;
Thou art my Savior
Kind and dear.
Forgive, O Lord
Forgive, O Lord, for Thy dear Son
The ill that I this day have done.
That with the world, myself, and Thee
I, ere I sleep, at peace may be.
Jesus, Tender Shepherd
Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me:
Bless Thy little child to-night;
Through the darkness be Thou near me,
Keep me safe till morning light.
All this day Thy hand has led me,
And I thank Thee for Thy care;
Thou hast warmed me, clothed me, fed me;
Listen to my evening prayer.
May my sins be all forgiven;
Bless the friends I love so well;
Take me, Lord, at last to heaven.
Happy there with Thee to dwell.
Our Father Who Art in Heaven
Our Father, Who art in Heaven
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil.
Lord, I have Passed Another Day
Lord, I have passed another day
And come to thank Thee for Thy care.
Forgive my faults in work or play
And listen to my evening prayer.
Thy favor gives me daily bread
And friends, who all my wants supply:
And safely now I rest my head,
Preserved and guarded by Thine eye.
Father, We Thank Thee
Father, we thank thee for the night,
And for the pleasant morning light;
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the day so fair.
Help us to do the things we should,
To be to others kind and good;
In all we do, in work or play,
To grow more loving every day.
Rebecca Weston – 1890
Away in a Manger
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.
Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there.
James Murry and John T. McFarland 1887
Abide With Me
Abide With Me is a song that was not written as a bedtime prayer, rather, as a farewell to this world. Henry F. Lyte was dying with tuberculosis in 1847. These beautiful words can be taught as a prayer full of great Bible teaching.
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.
Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.
Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea,
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.
Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.
I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
Henry F. Lyte 1847
If you enjoyed this article, you might also this one:
10 Powerful Prayers For Strength
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