I came upon an article the other day entitled “The Quiet Power of Bedtime Prayers”. It took me instantly back to when my four boys were small and the joy, and sometimes struggle, of getting all of them into bed.
Sound familiar? Our boys stretched across 10 years in age. So, our household consisted of babies, toddlers and school boys all together. Fun times. By the time homework was done, baths were taken, stories were told, and prayers were said, we surely deserved that quiet after the storm.
But, as I read that article all the good memories of those sweet little boys asking for drinks, wanting another hug, wanting more lights on or whatever, came back.
We said prayers with each the boys, starting when they were just babies. My husband even wrote a little prayer for them to say: “Thank you Jesus, for today. That I can run. That I can play. Help me now to go to sleep, without a sound, without a peep. And help me in the morning to say, ‘thank you, Jesus, for today!” As they got older, they learned that prayer was just talking with God and they would add their own conversation with God onto that simple prayer. When you establish those moments of prayer at the end of the day, you are helping to set up a habit they will practice the rest of their lives.
As the article pointed out, bedtime is a special time. All the days activities have been taken care of. What’s done is done and we are ready to just let it all go. It tends to be a time when children want to talk and share things they haven’t talked about all day. So and so didn’t talk to me today. My teacher said I was a really good drawer. The walls to communication seem to come down and they talk and share from their little hearts. What an opportunity to share the things of God and send them to dreamland thinking of Jesus instead of dinosaurs or my little ponies. I know from experience that important seeds are planted in those special moments.
Our boys used to come up with deep theological questions right at bedtime. I remember one night we had gotten through with prayers and stories etc. and my oldest, who was only about 5 or 6 at the time, asked me, ‘but, momma, how do we get to heaven?’ It wasn’t about salvation etc. My firstborn tended to be somewhat of a worrier and he was simply worried about the actual leaving of mom and getting to heaven. All I had to say was, ‘when it’s time for you to go to heaven then Jesus will come and take your hand and show you the way’. That’s all he needed. Little guys always take hands to go somewhere, so it was something he could understand. I don’t think in the rush of the day that he would have had that sweet opportunity to ask that question and I don’t know that the simple answer would have come so quickly to my head. But, in the quiet of the night and the relaxation after prayer time he got the answer that he needed. That’s the magic of bedtime.
Life is too often a rush from this to that and a quest for just a few moments to ourselves to gather our wits and prepare for another day. That magical time at bedtime can get lost if we are not careful and purposeful. Developing a habit of prayer and sharing is something that will strengthen their walk with God for years ahead.
Parenting can be hard, but it surely has its rewards, not the least of which, are those magical moments of bedtime. Don’t miss out. Develop those habits. Pray with your kids. It’s never too early or too late to start!