Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: Five Bedtime Prayers for Children

Corey StumneBy Corey Stumne5 Minutes

It’s no secret; bedtime’s difficult for kids. Often, they’re too excited to lay still, or they weren’t finished playing their game. Sometimes they desire more love and affection and won’t close their eyes until they get it. And let’s not forget about that pesky monster hiding under their bed.

Praying with your children every night not only establishes fantastic habits; it helps them get comfortable talking to God at the end of their day. It’s the first building block parents lay to develop spiritual relationships with their kids. It’s vital in the routine of God’s children.

But what should you pray? Sometimes praying with those we love most can be awkward and uncomfortable, especially if we’re new to praying. If you’re looking for fresh ideas, consider the five below.

A prayer for assistance: “God, help me…”

This one might be the most common. Teach your child to ask God for whatever they need: help me feel better, help me hit the baseball, help me be nice to my sister, help me with my homework, help me at my dance recital. Kids know they can’t do things by themselves. Teach them to go to God first for help.

A prayer of intercession: “God, help them…”

A huge step in a child’s development happens when they consider others before themselves. Helping them develop compassion for others shapes their hearts to become more like Christ. Praying for others should be a common practice in your house. Pray for family members, school friends, neighbors, church friends, and even their pets. Brainstorm with your kids who they’d like to pray for and do it.

A prayer of thanksgiving: “God, I’m happy because…”

This one’s always fun to watch your little ones get creative. They may not understand the concept of thanksgiving just yet, but they know what makes them happy. Just ask this question: What makes you smile? Consider drawing all the things they list and using them as thank-you flash cards while you pray.

A prayer of repentance: “God, I’m sorry…”

The depth of this prayer probably depends on the maturity of your child. Teaching them to be remorseful for sin can be tricky because you don’t want their prayers to be laced with shame. As you guide their words, ensure their prayer ends on a positive note. Teach them to say something like, “God, I’m sorry I stole my brother’s toy. I’m happy you always love me no matter what!” Of course, it’s going to be extremely helpful for your child to hear you pray this yourself. The more spiritually vulnerable you can be in front of your child, the more they understand faith is for everyone, not just them.

A prayer against fear: “God, protect me…”

No child will outgrow fear. The monsters might change in shape and size, but fear will always be something they wrestle. The earlier you can remind your child that God is bigger and stronger than their fears, the better. I’ve listened to my daughter ask God to protect her from the Abominable Snowman, bats, boo-boos, skeletons, monsters, and bad guys. I’m confident God smiles when he hears these innocent yet resolute prayers.

BONUS! A prayer of vision: “God, give my child…”

In plenty of ways, this one might be the most important. This might be a prayer you eventually teach your child to say, but you’re the champion of this one. Think about the two or things you desperately want your child to possess. Don’t take this lightly. Pray and fast about it. Once you’ve decided, pray this prayer over your child multiple times a day for the rest of their life. Pray it privately by yourself and verbally in their presence. Frame the prayer and put it on their wall. Explain what it means as they get older. Give your child a vision for the spiritual life you’d like them to pursue.