Now I Lay Me Down

Now I Lay Me Down
A Bedtime Poem and Prayer

This is the bedtime prayer that my mom taught me. I was told to say it every night without fail:

“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.”

The dying part scared me.  The implication of the possibility that I might die if I went to sleep was too much for my young mind to grasp, so I rushed through it which took the whole meaning, purpose, and heart out of praying it.
Recently, when I researched the history of this classic children’s prayer, I found that the earliest version of that prayer was perhaps written in 1711 by Joseph Addison in an essay appearing in The Spectator.  Mom’s version came later from The New England Primer.  Several different versions exist, some including child-watching angels.

I decided that Davey Christopher (and I, as well) needed a better bedtime prayer.   Davey’s prayer is a new version of the classic:

“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Stay with me, Lord, in dark of night,
And wake me with Your morning light.”

Davey made another verse:
(I helped him with the spelling)

“And as I go to sleep, dear Lord,
I’d like to ask for one thing more:
Be with me all my waking hours,
And keep me, Lord, for I am Yours.”

Here is Davey’s current bedtime prayer (without all his personal “God blesses”):

“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Stay with me, Lord, in dark of night,
And wake me with Your morning light.”
And as I go to sleep, dear Lord,
I’d like to ask for one thing more:
Be with me all my waking hours,
And keep me, Lord, for I am Yours.”
“Amen”

Parents, think about your children’s prayers.  Pray with them.  Think, and pray, and teach them well.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Zellie M. Quinn
    Dec 09, 2012 @ 02:45:22

    After the original two stanzas, we’d say, “If I should live another day, I pray the lord to guide my way. Forgive me for all that I have done wrong, and make me pure and wise and strong” Love your version of the prayer!

  2. Will Townshend
    Dec 10, 2012 @ 14:43:51

    Great thinking. I remember that I never liked that part about dying either.;

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