Prayer With Children at Bedtime
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.
Praying with Children Blessings and Family Prayers
In ways large and small, parents seek what is best for their children. This desire is expressed in a variety of practical ways every day; such as preparing healthy foods, ensuring adequate opportunity for sleep, teaching good manners, and sharing enriching activities as a family.
Incorporating prayers of blessing into your family’s daily routine is another way to express this desire for the very best for your children. When we pray for God’s blessing, we acknowledge that God is the source of all that is good.
In prayer, we ask God to bless us, to bless others, and to bless our activities. We do so with confidence and trust in God, who also seeks what is best for each of us. To pray in blessing for our children is to join our desires for them with God’s own desire for them.
Daily life provides parents with many opportunities to offer prayers of blessing with and for their children.
As part of bedtime prayers, invite your child to name the people he or she would to pray for. This can take the form of a simple litany, praying, “God bless . . .” as your child names family and friends. As your child grows older, you might offer a simple prayer intention for each person as you pray.
For example, if a sibling is sick, you might ask for God’s healing presence, praying, “God bless [name] and help her [him] feel better soon.” Later, you might suggest that your child offer the prayer intention.
Conclude by praying your own prayer of blessing for your child as you trace the Sign of the Cross on your child’s forehead.
Even in the most organized households, mornings can become a frenzy of activity as family members prepare to leave for work, day care, school, and daily errands.
Establishing a morning routine that includes a prayer of blessing for family members as they leave the home can help to strengthen and encourage each person to live faithfully as a follower of Jesus.
Ask each family member to name particular challenges or activities he or she may face during the day, and pray together, asking God to bless each person and his or her activities. Parents can trace the Sign of the Cross on each child’s forehead in blessing before leaving the house each day.
The importance of gathering for family meals cannot be overstated. Not only are meals important for providing daily nourishment, but they are also occasions for strengthening our spirits by connecting with the people who are most central to our lives.
Meals are natural occasions for prayers of blessing. We pray in thanks to God for his goodness to us. We ask God to bless our food and make our lives a blessing to others.
Pray together Grace Before Meals and Grace After Meals.
Mealtime can also be an opportunity to ask family members to name the good things that God has shared with them throughout the day and to pray together in thanksgiving.
Blessings at Family Celebrations
Each family has its own cycle of special occasions and celebrations. Over the years, you will plan many family birthday parties, anniversaries, and celebrations of the sacraments. These occasions are also opportunities for prayers of blessing.
Be intentional about taking these opportunities for prayer and look for other occasions to celebrate and pray together as a family.
Among the occasions to consider as opportunities for family prayer and celebration include the feasts of the Church year, the anniversary of your child’s Baptism, New Year’s Day, and the start of a new school year.
Blessings in Times of Transition and Difficulty
God walks with us through the challenges and difficulties of life. Prayers of blessing call forth God’s protection and remind us of God’s faithfulness.
We can ask for God’s blessing when we make decisions, large and small, and pray for family members and friends who are discerning life choices, about new jobs, college choices, vocation to marriage, or religious life. We can pray for God’s blessings when we move to a new home.
We can ask God to bless those who are sick and offer prayers of blessing together when family members are sick. And we pray for God to bless those who are near death and those who have died.
Incorporating Items Blessed for Prayer
The Church has a rich sacramental tradition. Holy water and blessed candles can be brought into the home and used for family prayer. Crosses, crucifixes, rosaries, statues, and icons can be blessed by a priest, making them holy reminders of God’s power and presence in our lives. Display these sacred objects in your home and make them focal points for your family prayer.
Prayers of blessing for these occasions and many others can be found in Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers: Revised Edition (Washington, DC: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2008).
15 Daily Prayers for Children To Say At Bedtime and Morning
Teaching your children to speak to God in the morning and night will help to create a strong bond and relationship with their Lord and Savior. These great prayers for children to say at bedtime and morning provide some great examples to the types of prayers parents can share with their children.
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.
For this new morning with its light, For rest and shelter of the night, For health and food, for love and friends. For everything Thy goodness sends, We thank Thee, dearest Lord.
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.
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.
Lord, in the morning I start each day, By taking a moment to bow and pray. Beginning with thanks, I then give praise
For all your kind and loving ways.
Today if sunshine turns to rain, If a dark cloud brings some pain, I won’t doubt or hide in fear
For you, my God, are always near.
I will travel where you lead; I will help my friends in need. Where you send me, I will go;
With your help, I’ll learn and grow.
Hold my family in your hands, As we follow your commands. And I will keep you close in sight
Until I crawl in bed tonight.
Dear God, I thank Thee for this day. Wherever I go, Whatever I do and see, I want to spend
This day entirely with Thee.
Please, dear God, come into my heart, Our day together is already a’start. Bless me ever and ever again! I love Thee, dearest God.
Thank you for the world so sweet, Thank you for the food we eat, Thank you for the birds that sing, Thank you God for everything.
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.
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.
Jesus, you are good and wise I will praise you when I rise. Jesus, hear this prayer I send Bless my family and my friends. Jesus, help my eyes to see All the good you send to me.
Jesus, help my ears to hear Calls for help from far and near. Jesus, help my feet to go In the way that You will show. Jesus, help my hands to do All things loving, kind, and true.
Jesus, guard me through this day In all I do and all I say.
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.
Now, before I run to play, Let me not forget to pray To God who kept me through the night And waked me with the morning light. Help me, Lord, to love Thee more Than I ever loved before, In my work and in my play
Be thou with me through the day.
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.
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 take us to heaven To live with Thee there.
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.Here is a great video from Pastor Rick Warren on how to bring out the best in your kids and others.
About the Author of this Blog Post
Crystal Ayres has served as our editor-in-chief for the last five years. She is a proud veteran, wife and mother. The goal of ConnectUs is to publish compelling content that addresses some of the biggest issues the world faces. If you would to reach out to contact Crystal, then go here to send her a message.