The Quiet Power of Bedtime Prayers

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I slip out of my daughter’s room with my last, “I love you” and quietly shut the door. Before I head downstairs I sneak a peek at my son as I hear his voice uttering this prayer.

Dear God,
Thank You for a good day.
Thank You for the yummy food we had to eat today.
Thank You that I got to go to school and play with my friends.
God bless Mommy and Daddy and Hope and Papa and Grandpa and. . .
Thank you God for the good things You give us. . .
And thank You for taking care of us.
We love You, Amen.

This is the sweet sound in his bedroom almost every night of the week.

Before my son became a part of our family, my husband and I would gather in my daughter’s room to read and pray together. But when the little guy made us a family of four, we decided to divide and conquer. Most nights, my husband puts our son to bed while I tuck in our girl.

In that time, my husband was purposefully and powerfully teaching my son to pray bold prayers. Our boy started to ask us if he could pray out loud (around age 3) and would talk to God without the slightest intimidation at bedtime, the dinner table and in Sunday school. His boldness has also encouraged his older sister, who now prays aloud much more often than her shy personality would allow at first.

My husband’s leadership in guiding our children to pray specific and confident prayers has inspired me to be more intentional with our kids and prayer. When we give children the language to talk with God, we open up their minds and hearts to communication with Him. It can be intimidating to think about what to say to the invisible, powerful Almighty Godwho created us. But we can help our kids use their words to develop brave and powerful conversations with their heavenly Father.

Bedtime is the perfect time to take part in this exercise as a family. As you gather together and wind down for the evening, take time to talk with God. Follow these simple steps to creating your own, powerful, bedtime prayers.

1. Create space in your bedtime routine for prayer.
2. Craft a specific prayer to say out loud every night.
3. Take turns saying the prayer aloud so everyone can learn it and become
confident with it.
4. Encourage children to add their personal touch to the prayer each night, sharing specific things they are thankful for or areas in which they need God’s help.

Last month on the Tommy Nelson blog, author/blogger Sami Cone shared her family’s bedtime prayer ritual, which includes reciting a specific Bible verse. I LOVE this idea and want to implement it with our family, too. Using the Word is another powerful way to end the day with prayers that will not only help our kids sleep peacefully but also, grow their relationship with God.

Bedtime prayers can often become a cliché or an act we perform on autopilot because it’s “what we do.” But the habits and disciplines we begin with our children now will greatly affect their spiritual journey for years to come. Simple, specific bedtime prayers show our children the place of prayer in our homes and give them the words that will develop into a language of prayer they will use the rest of their lives.

Check out My Little Prayers, a super sweet book full of specific prayers for everything from mealtime and bedtime to feelings and special days. The compact book includes adorable illustrations and is perfect for the small hands of toddlers and preschoolers.

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Jessica Wolstenholm

Jess Wolstenholm is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Jess became passionate about developing simple faith tools when she began to navigate the spiritual development of her own young children. She launched Gather & Grow in January 2017. Since the loss of her mom to pancreatic cancer in 2012, she’s focused on continuing the legacy of faith started by her wonderfully imperfect parents. Author of The Pregnancy and Baby Companion books, Jess contributes articles and resources about family and faith to Tommy Nelson, JellyTelly and The Huffington Post. When she isn’t writing, you can find Jess teaching kids at her home church or taking notes for the school PTO. She lives outside Nashville, Tennessee with her husband, Dave and their two miracles, Hope (9) and Joshua (6).

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