At night we get to reset. We get to let go of the stresses of the day and come to God before we rest. By creating a bedtime prayer routine, we can make time to reflect on the day that has passed and offer it to God. And finally, we can rest in His love before sleeping. In this blog post, we are going to cover some ideas for making space to create a bedtime prayer routine, as well as some night prayers you can use at the end of the day.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
You may have heard of the famous child’s bedtime prayer “Now I lay me down to sleep”. It originated as a German medieval poem and by 1737 was translated to English. The original version of the prayer reads:
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.
It may sound overly serious for a child’s night prayer but perhaps this taps into the anxiety at the heart of all of us: who will look after me when I sleep? The Bible assures us that we can rest in peace at night for the Lord never sleeps:
“He will not let your foot slip – He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:3-4
How comforting to be reminded that our God always watches over us. And again, we see in Psalm 139:18, one of my favorite Bible verses of all, where the psalmist says; “When I awake, I am still with You”.
What a wonderful thought, that our Father God never abandons us, that He is with us, always. That, at the start of every day, He is there, whatever we have done or not done, whatever we have said or not said. He is a faithful, loving Father, watching over His children.
In our busy lives, sleep can be elusive and we can end up staying up too late. Sleep is so good for us though. It restores mind and body and prepares us for the day ahead. Getting enough sleep is a discipline, especially in our day and age. It takes willpower to turn off Netflix, stop scrolling through social media and go and get the rest that we need instead. It feels as if there is always more that we should be doing. But we can’t keep running on empty and can’t keep giving out if our souls are tired.
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (London, Hodder and Stoughton, 2019) is a fantastic book by John Mark Comer. In this highly recommended book. Comer reminds us that living in the fast lane is a choice. We may all think we can’t get off the hamster wheel, that this crazy pace of life and the feeling of hurry is normal but there is another way. Jesus’ call to us is to live at a different pace.
“Come to me”, Jesus says “all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Make time to come to Him at night
“It is good to praise the Lord and make music to Your name, O Most High, proclaiming Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night.” Psalm 92:1-2
The psalmist here calls us to proclaim God’s love in the morning to carry us through the day, and His faithfulness at night when all is said and done.
We don’t say night prayers as a magical fix to get to sleep, but we do it to keep our peace, to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, to check in with ourselves before turning off the light. So, follow these simple steps to create your own bedtime prayer routine.
Reflect on the day
Reflect upon the day that has passed and meditate on these questions.
What has been good today?
What am I thankful for?
How have I heard you speak today, God?
What has been hard today?
Am I harboring resentment, unforgiveness, or anger? Show me now, where I need to confess.
Am I carrying stress in my body, Lord? Show me where I need to let go of worry and anxiety.
Am I feeling sad, disappointed or fearful? I give this to You.
If you wish, you can use these night prayers at the close of the day:
“Lord, I come to You now at the end of another day. Thank You for carrying me through. Thank You that You are my loving Father who is always there for me. I release anxiety and fear to You now. I release all anger and sadness. As I let go of all tension in my body, show me if I am holding onto anything that is not of You. I let it go now. Search my heart, Lord, and see if there is any offensive way in me. Lead me in Your ways. Amen.”
“Father, thank You that when I go to sleep, You are there with me and when I wake up in the morning, You are still there. Thank You that Your word says You watch over me at night. So Father, bring me peace, bring me comfort. May I know I am Your dearly beloved child. Amen.”
“Father, in this long night, I cannot sleep. I come to You now with my worries and exhaustion. Even if I cannot sleep, may I know Your loving embrace and comfort through these dark hours. Amen.”
I hope and pray that this blog post encourages you to establish a bedtime routine. If you would you like to read more about building a spiritual routine, check out this blog post. The Glorify App also has soothing playlists, night meditations and declarations to help you rest peacefully.
In peace, I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8