One of my earliest memories is kneeling before my bed and repeating bedtime prayers after my mom. Not only did this set me in a routine for a lifetime of praying, but it taught me that talking to God is a simple process.
In this post about bedtime prayers for kids, I hope you come away with a strong desire to pray with your kids, an understanding of how to pray bedtime prayers with your kids, and a few great lines to inspire you.
It is also important to me that you understand what praying is. It is not repetition or eloquent phrases. Prayer is a personal conversation between you and God. It opens the door for a deeper relationship.
We often get into the habit of only praying at certain times: before bed, before meals, after morning devotions, but the truth is that Paul instructs us to “pray without ceasing”. Your conversation with God does not have to end at an appointed time, but rather, we converse with God throughout our day.
He is always with us so why not communicate with him all day?
Ok, I’m getting a bit off topic. This post is about bedtime prayers for kids and I hope this habit becomes a bond between you and your child as you open the door to the concept that God is listening and He is right here beside you.
The Importance of Bedtime Prayers for Kids
So, why are bedtime prayers important? By praying with your kids at bedtime, you are teaching them these things:
- How to communicate with God
- That God is real and he is here with them
- God is listening to them
- Praying is an important habit
- God is our friend
- Prayer is a good way to end our day
When teaching our kids to pray we can draw from the Lord’s Prayer as an example.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
In this prayer found in Matthew chapter 6, Jesus teaches us how to pray. First, we praise God and acknowledge that he is great. Secondly, we ask for his will in our lives and for our material needs. Thirdly, we ask him to forgive us of our sins and to help us with our earthly relationships. Next, we ask God to help us live righteously and to fight temptation. We end with another expression of praise.
This is a bit much for small children so I teach my kids to include these three things when they pray.
- Somethinging they are thankful for.
- Something they need help with.
- A request for protection.
It ends up looking something like this. “Thank you Lord for this day and the for the fun we had at the park. Please help my skinned knee to feel better. Keep us safe tonight. In Jesus name, Amen”
What is a Good Prayer to Say Before Bed?
The best prayers always bring us back to the promises in scripture.
- I will never leave you (Isaiah 43:1-2, Joshua 1:9)
- I will take care of you (Matthew 6:25-26, Psalm 84:11)
- I will protect you (Psalm 91, Psalm 20:1)
- You are loved (John 3:16, Romans 8:37-38)
Teach your kids to include these promises in their prayers. They may look something like this.
“Thank you, Lord, that you are with me, guide me and help me to make the right choices.”
“Thank you, Lord, for your love and for helping me to love others.”
“Thank you, Lord, that I am not alone. Sometimes I feel alone or as if others don’t like me, but I know that you will always love me.”
“Your word promises that you will keep me safe. Please send your angels to protect me tonight.”
“Thank you for your protection throughout the day. Thank you for helping me with the difficult things I faced today.”
Be sure to check out these posts as well!
Bedtime Prayers for Protection
During bedtime prayers for protection, most of us think of praying for safety, but what if we teach our kids to pray for protection from the evil one as well? Teach them to pray that God protects them from temptation, poor choices, peer pressure, etc.
But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
Lord, thank you for your faithfulness and for always taking care of me and protecting me. Help me to fight the temptation that comes my way. Give me the strength to say no when I need to. Help me to make the right choices.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
Thank you Lord for protecting me and being a place of safety. Keep me safe from all danger and help me with the troubles that come my way.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. (Psalm 121:3)
Thank you, Lord, that you do not sleep. You are always taking care of me and protecting me even when I am sleeping and do not know what is going on.
Bible Verses for Night Prayer
A great practice to get into is reading scripture with your child before bed. One or two verses is all you need. The idea is to give them a sense that God is with them. You can use any of the verses I’ve mentioned so far in this post, but here are a few more ideas to get you started.
These Bible verses for night prayer can lead you right into your prayer. Praying scripture is powerful and can give us a guide when we don’t know exactly what to say. I gave examples of how to do this in the above text. It is comforting and isn’t that the mood we want to set for our kids as they settle in for the night? We want them to feel safe, loved, and peaceful.
When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet (Proverbs 3:24)
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways. (Psalm 91:11)
There is a reason the 23rd Psalm is so well known. It speaks of everything we need to settle in peace and sleep. God is taking care of us, He is with us through any hard time, and He blesses us.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. (Psalm 23)
May our children rest in our Heavenly Father.
If you need a few more verses please check out “49 Bible Verses that will Help You Sleep Peacefully”.
Short Bedtime Prayers for Toddlers
The first attribute about God we want our kids to become familiar with is God’s love for us. I have memories of singing Jesus Loves Me in Sunday school. My teacher had long brown hair and played the guitar. I remember believing with all of my four year old heart that Jesus did indeed love me.
Isn’t that what we want our children to rest in? God’s love for them? When praying with toddlers, make them aware that they are praying to someone who loves them.
Help your toddler pray these words.
“Thank you for this day. I am so happy that you love me.”
“Thank you for the fun I had ____________. I know you love me and I love you too!”
“Thank you for mom and dad. Thank you for ________. Thank you for loving me and taking care of me.”
One Last Word on Bedtime Prayers for Children
I want to end these bedtime prayers for kids with a couple of traditional ones that will have you smiling and leave your little ones with a feeling of peace and love.
Father, We Thank Thee
By Rebecca Weston (1890)
Father, we thank thee for the night,
And for the pleasant morning light;
For rest and food and loving care,
And all that makes the day so fair.
Help us to do the things we should,
To be to others kind and good.
In all we do, in work or play,
To grow more loving every day.
God of Wonder Prayer
God of wonder, God of grace,
Even when I can’t see Your face,
I know You are here. You’re all around.
In Your arms of care, I am found.
Your angels’ watch around me keep,
All through the night as I sleep.
Under Your wings, soft as a dove,
I rest in Your unending love.
Thank You, Father, Holy One,
I rest in You, now the day is done.
Day Is Done Prayer
The stars are glowing, and the day is done.
I pray to You God, oh Holy One.
Help me to follow You and obey,
in all that I do, and in every way.
Help me learn more about You every year,
And always remember that You are near.
In the morning, in the new day,
May I do everything You say.
God of glory, God of light,
You are all around all through the night.
I hope that you have found what you are looking for in this round-up of bedtime prayers for kids. Is there a verse or a prayer that you pray with your children? I’d love for you to share it in the comments below.
Check out these posts for great kids’ devotional ideas.