I hope you’ve been able to make saying grace more meaningful since my last post. Ready for another one? Let’s take a look at bedtime prayers.
- Saying Grace
- Bedtime Prayers (and Morning Prayers)
Here’s the second most common prayer with kids. This one usually starts with the bedtime routine when they’re babies. Lots of moms and dads like to include prayer as part of the go-to-sleep routine. I love that because it creates an early association between praying and feeling nurtured. Don’t underestimate that! As kids get older, they start taking over bedtime prayer, either kneeling beside the bed, sitting in your lap, or even lying down in bed. Where and how isn’t important, but closing the day by connecting with God is.
Of course, there will be seasons where you need to bring in a prayer request, or a time of crying…or crying out. But as a rule, adoration and gratitude? What a perfect way to set your heart right before you close the day.
Teaching kids bedtime prayer is about modeling, just as saying grace is. How do you want your kids to connect with God to finish out the day? What a great time for prayers of adoration and gratitude. Of course, there will be seasons where you need to bring in a prayer request, or a time of crying…or crying out. But as a rule, adoration and gratitude? What a perfect way to set your heart right before you close the day. Model this by praying to God about His goodness, faithfulness, creativity, anything.
You can be general, but it’s really important to model being specific, too. For example, “Thank you, Lord, for your constant faithfulness in our family. You are so good to us, and we love You,” is sincere, but, “Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness in taking care of us while Dad looks for another job. Every day, we see You making sure we have what we really need, and we are knowing You and Your people better in this difficult time. We know you’ll bring the right job to Dad at the right time. Until that happens, help us to keep our eyes on You,” is specific and heartfelt. It shows your kids how YOU see God at work in your family’s life. It makes God more real and personal, and not just a distant God we read about in the Bible.
Less common is the practice of praying first thing in the morning. If you aren’t the one waking your child up, this is harder to make a habit, but you can do it. You just have to separate it from saying grace at breakfast. My advice is to keep this prayer short and focused on setting your heart to be open to the Lord throughout that day. I remember as a new mom, I felt guilty that I just couldn’t get in the habit of doing a devotional time or a quiet time. It wasn’t something I grew up with, and I struggled to make it a habit (I still do). A mentor mom spoke words of grace over my anxiety about this. She told me just to bring Sarah with me, kneel beside my bed in the morning, and say a short prayer to kind of check in with God and ask for Him to guide my steps that day. She said it’s really about adopting a posture of prayer first thing, and having my daughter do it with me made it really meaningful to us both. I needed that, so I’m sharing it with you.