When I was a little girl, my parents, like many others, taught me the prayer, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. However, they were concerned that the phrase, “If I should die before I wake,” would frighten their fragile little flower. (Understandable, since almost everything frightened me.) So, they changed that phrase to, “And hold me in Your arms so tight.”
Of course, I taught my children to say the prayer exactly the way I had learned it, and they are teaching to their children as well.
I have since heard variations of that phrase which ask for angels to watch and guard. Whatever the version, each one is precious when spoken through the lips of a child.
A number of years ago, a dear pastor friend of ours added these words to the end of the original prayer, “If I should die before I wake; I pray the Lord my soul to take. If I should wake before I die, I pray the Lord would show me why.”
With all of the variations I’ve heard over the years, I finally wrote my own version which I keep tucked in the back of my Bible:
In Paul’s greeting to the Romans, chapter one verse five it says:
Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles (all people) everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey Him, bringing glory to His name. (NLT)
Daily trust and obedience go against our selfish nature. I too often think I have a better way, better ideas, and a better plan. The truth is that I don’t have a better anything. So, I find it necessary to ask my Father often, multiple times in every twenty-four hour period, to help me to trust and obey….
- Not so I can get gold stars next to my name in the Book of Life.
- Not so I’ll look good at church.
- Not so God will give me what I want.
- Not so I can feel good about myself.
Although I have to admit each of those is very tempting.
I pray to trust and obey God to:
Bring glory to His name.
In the book, Just Give Me Jesus, by Ann Graham Lotz, she writes something very close to these words:
My motivation for obedience is His promise that if I obey, I will see His glory displayed through His life giving power.
I need His love.
I need His grace and mercy.
I need His strength.
I need His peace.
I need His presence.
I need His patience.
I need Jesus.
Tonight, as I climb into bed I will repeat the words of my childhood. I don’t say them often anymore choosing to pray with my own words rather than something I’ve memorized, but tonight I believe I will once again pray the prayer that blessed my childhood . . .
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
You can get a free download of the prayer to print by clicking on the image above.