What was that? I listened closely, all alone in my dark bedroom, but heard nothing more. Just the house settling, I told myself. I rolled over and pulled the covers up tight around me. I’d never get to sleep.
My husband, David, had died only a couple of weeks before. Without him here with me, our cozy, familiar house became something else entirely in the darkness of the night. The moon cast a ghostly light across the floor through a gap in the curtain. Shadows in the corners of the room grew long and sinister. Creaks and groans echoed throughout the house, punctuated by mysterious animal calls outside. I stared at the ceiling, praying for the sun to rise. Another sleepless night, I thought.
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I knew it was silly of me to feel so frightened. It was still the same house, one I’d even helped design myself. I was no architect, but David had encouraged me. “Get creative, Betty,” he said. “Build us our dream home.” I came up with an open-concept floor plan, a sprawling one-story farmhouse with a wraparound porch and a big bay kitchen window that looked out onto the yard and the woods beyond. Every moment in the house had felt like a blessing—until now.
Of course I was lonely. That was to be expected. David and I were married for 49 years. But during the day at least I was coping. Nighttime was another matter. Once the sun went down, I curled up in bed and imagined what kind of horrors might be lurking. Even when I did manage to drift off to sleep, any errant noise could disturb my slumber. I didn’t know how much longer I could go without a decent night’s sleep. Did I have to move? Despite my fears I loved this house where David and I had been so happy. Would any other house be any better? I turned over again under my covers and hoped dawn would come soon.
The following afternoon I sat at my kitchen table, looking blearily out the bay window at the yard. “Lord, I just want to feel safe again,” I said. I’d repeated that prayer so often I was sure the Lord was tired of hearing it. I thought of David encouraging me to get creative with the plans for building the house. I needed to get creative in dealing with my fears. You have to do something besides pray, I told myself. Maybe “do” was the magic word. I decided to put some action behind my prayers. That night, right before bed, I marched to the front door with a brand-new prayer. “Lord, send guardian angels to watch over me.” Then I turned and made my way to the back door that led to the porch. I repeated my prayer—then again, a third time, at the side door. If each entryway had its very own angel to guard it, surely I would have nothing to worry about. This would be my new routine.
I climbed into bed. After so many bad nights I drifted off to sleep quickly. But when a strange sound outside startled me awake, all of my fears came rushing back. My heart raced. I didn’t need to pray for angels to protect me when David was alive—I had him. Would I ever feel that kind of comfort again? I stared into the darkness.
The next evening I stuck to my plan, asking God to put an angel at each door of the house. A week passed. Nothing changed. I longed for peace. Is there any point in going through my tired old routine? I thought grimly one evening, sitting in my recliner in the living room. No routine could replace my loving, protective husband. Maybe it was time to accept that. “Time for bed,” I sighed. I stood up from my recliner, then eyed the front door and yawned. I’ll give it one more try.
Before I took a step forward, a strange feeling came over me. The room shimmered and warped, then pulled away like someone was drawing back a curtain to reveal a scene. I could see my house from the outside, a panoramic view in great detail. But as odd as that was, there was something else in the scene. Something even more mystifying.
A ring of angels encircled my home, their glorious wings unfurled. They faced inward, their features obscured. Each one wore a brilliant white gown that sparkled with heavenly light, the otherworldly fabric illuminating the space around the house. The tips of their powerful wings touched at each end, creating an unbroken circle. Every door, every window was covered in their protection. The darkness beyond the house seemed to shrink back, as though banished by these divine figures. The angels themselves never moved. They remained stoic and unwavering at their guard posts.
As quickly as it had come, the vision faded. I was alone within the walls of my living room once again.
That night I made one last pass by the doors of my dream home. This time I thanked God for the guardian angels who watched over me, bringing a peaceful slumber. Nothing could replace David. Living without him would continue to be hard. But I could rest easy at night with angels standing guard.
READ MORE: 5 TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP
Ending your day with prayer is a wonderful way to let go of stress and find peace before falling asleep. No matter what you faced today, talking to God through goodnight prayers will renew your faith. Evening prayer also helps you see all the good things that happened in your day that you have to be thankful for!
Share these nine bedtime and evening prayers with your children, spouse and friends so they too can fall asleep feeling blessed and thankful!
- 1 Goodnight Prayer for Blessings
- 2 A Bedtime Prayer to Stop an Anxious Heart
- 3 Giving Thanks Evening Prayer
- 4 A Short Night-time Prayer (2 Timothy 1:7)
- 5 Popular Child’s Bedtime Prayer, 18th Century
- 6 A Beautiful Prayer to End the Day
- 7 Father, We Thank Thee
- 8 Bedtime Prayer (song by Twila Paris)
- 9 The Examen (Evening Reflection)
- 10 Praying for peaceful sleep
- 11 Praying for a restful night
Goodnight Prayer for Blessings
Bless us with rest tonight, Jesus, and a good night’s sleep. Forgive us for the things we did today that did not honor you. Thank you for loving us so much and that you know us through and through. We need your help every day, and we thank you for the strength you give and for helping us know that with you, even hard things are possible. Bless our family and our home, and keep us safe through the night. May your angels guard us and watch over us, just like you promised.
You’ve told us we are just like sheep. And that you lead us and guard us like a shepherd. You know our names, and you make us feel special and loved. When we hurt, you help us feel better. Thank you, Jesus, for your good care and for giving us to help. Thank you for the Bible, and for teaching us stuff in life that helps us grow. Bless the people in our world, and help them to know you love them, too. Thank you for all the people who help us so much: teachers, doctors, policeman, and fireman—and so many more.
Thank you for your good plan for our lives. Help us to obey you and love you more and more. When we awake in the morning, put a smile on our face and your purpose in our hearts, ready to start a new day. We love you, Jesus. Good night. In Jesus’s precious name, Amen. ~ ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
A Bedtime Prayer to Stop an Anxious Heart
Dear Lord, please help me trust You and empower me through Your Spirit to stop my emotions from bossing me around. I want to quit worrying about what might happen and focus on what has already happened by remembering and praising You for Your faithfulness in my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. ~ Renee Swoop
Giving Thanks Evening Prayer
Dear God, we thank you tonight for the good day and for the special way you take care of us all the time. Thank you for the fun times outside and the quiet times inside, and for helping us learn new things every day.
Thank you for creating us special, exactly the way you wanted. Thank you for protecting us throughout the day. Forgive us for the wrong things we do. Thank you for loving us even when we disobey or try to do things our way. Help us to always choose your way, God, because it’s always best. We pray for all the people who don’t know you, and that they will come to understand your love for them, too.
Bless our family and thank you for good times together and apart. Bless our friends and those we love, including our grandparents, our aunts and uncles and cousins. Thank you for our home and a place to sleep and good food to eat. Help us rest well, give us peaceful dreams, and send your angels around our home to protect us throughout the night. Teach us to trust you and to love you more and more. You are good; you are great; and you are faithful, God. And we love you. Good night. In Jesus’s precious name, Amen. ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
A Short Night-time Prayer (2 Timothy 1:7)
For God’s not given me a spirit of fear,
But a spirit of love,
and of power, and a sound mind,
To live each day and glorify his name.
Popular Child’s Bedtime Prayer, 18th Century
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.
Alternative Version for Children:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Watch and guard me through the night,
and wake me with the morning light.
A Beautiful Prayer to End the Day
Heavenly Father, my day is drawing to an end, and I’m ready to turn in. But before I do, I have to thank you for your faithfulness today. It’s always a good day, even when things may not go the way I plan, or when the world seems in chaos, because you are in control.
For all the times when I was aware of your help today, all the times when your unseen presence seemed so near, thank you, God. But for all the ways you worked behind the scenes, unknown to me, moments when heaven-sent angels moved on my behalf in ways I’ll never know, thank you for those also, Lord.
Forgive me for any foolish actions on my part today or things I did without first asking your blessing or wisdom. Those are moments I’d rather forget, but I’m so grateful for your forgiveness when I ask. I never want to go to bed without clearing the air between us, Lord. Our friendship means too much, and your holiness deserves that. Thank you for loving me just as I am. Your love compels me to give you my all and fills my heart with praise for the relationship we share because of Jesus.
As I close my eyes tonight, I’m praying for loved ones around me, for friends and those who need to know you, Lord. I’m praying that your love, like the billions of stars in the night sky outside, will touch them and help them see who you really are. I pray for our world and those in it. I pray for their needs as well as my own.
Grant me a good night’s sleep tonight, God, so that I can awake refreshed and ready to begin another day loving you. Thank you again for blessings so undeserved and too numerous to count. I love being your child, and I long for the word “faithful” to describe my service to you, each day of every year. When I awake in the morning, may it be with a joyful smile, not a grumpy spirit. May your protection and your presence bathe this place with peace and safety against the enemy. Good night, Lord. In Jesus’s name, Amen. ~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Father, We Thank Thee
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.
— Rebecca Weston – 1890
Bedtime Prayer (song by Twila Paris)
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray dear Lord that you will keep
Your eyes upon this sleeping world
Every little boy and girl
Bless the children far away
The ones who don’t know how to pray
Those who are not feeling well
The little one the slipped and fell
Bless the puppy down the street
The neighbors I have yet to meet
Bless my mom and dad especially
Just one more thing I’d like to say
Before I close another day
I’d like to thank you Lord for all the ways
That You bless me
Bless the child whose home is torn
The babies who are not yet born
Bless the ones who take your word
To all the hearts that have not heard
Bless all your children everywhere
I hope they know how much you care
Maybe someday I can go
And tell them that You love them so
Bless Grandma and my Grandpa too
And all my friend and all they do
Bless every twig upon my family tree
Just one more thing I’ll say to you
I’m so amazed by all you do
I’ll thank you once again because it’s true
That you bless me
The Examen (Evening Reflection)
Written by St. Ignatius Loyola, the Examen is a daily process for prayerfully reflecting on your day.
1. Remember God’s presence.
Even after a trying day, God will quiet your soul as you remember His presence and intentionally seek to enter into it. Remember He’s with you. Invite Him to make Himself present to you.
2. Respond to Him with thanks.
Giving thanks gives God glory and helps us look on the bright side of a bad day. What small blessings can you thank God for?
3. Reflect on how God showed Himself to you.
God reveals himself through scripture, but we also see glimpses of him in nature, events, and people. Sometimes He shows up loudly through miraculous, divine intervention. Other times He shows Himself quietly through the beauty of a flower or an earnest conversation. As you look back over your day, can you identify moments where you sensed God’s revelation or intervention?
4. Repent of your failings.
I don’t like recognizing my own sin, but repentance is key to continual renewal in our relationship with God.As you reflect on your day, remember specific points where you failed. Bring your shortcomings before God and ask Him to forgive you.
5. Resolve to grow.
God is in the business of changing us, so don’t let your failings discourage or define you. His mercies are always new. Accept His forgiveness. Ask Him for grace to change. Is there anything you need to make right or anyone you need to apologize to? What can you do differently tomorrow?
Do you have a favorite goodnight prayer you use at bedtime? One that your parents taught you or that you are teaching your children? Share it with our community in the comments below!
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersThe Prayer of JabezShort PrayersThe Lord’s PrayerThe Prayer of St FrancisSerenity PrayerA Birthday PrayerSinner’s PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessPrayer for GuidanceIntercessory PrayerIrish Prayers and BlessingsAdvent PrayersChristmas PrayersThanksgiving PrayerHoly Week Prayers for Each DayEaster PrayersMother’s Day PrayerPrayers for My HusbandPrayers for My SonPrayers for My DaughterPrayer Quotes
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A Prayer for When I Can’t Sleep
I can’t sleep.
I’m tossing and turning. Again.
I’m so thankful You never grow weary
And You never sleep.
I’m thankful that You are here with me right now,
Even when my mind won’t stop churning…
And my head won’t stop spinning.
Even when I know that worrying gets me nowhere
And my heart needs to rely on You.
I need You- the Good Shepherd-
Because counting sheep just doesn’t work.
Would you comfort my heart as only You can?
Will you rescue me from my own spiral of thoughts?
For I know that when I rest in You,
peace like a river overflows my soul and
I can praise You in advance for sweet rest.
Hey Friends- I’ve never been a major insomniac, but sometimes I feel like I haven’t slept since Taylor was born. That’s 17 years. I keep one eye half open and one ear half open and then switch sides. Yes- it’s complicated. I’m guessing someone else can relate for various reasons. I think God had David write the Psalms for this reason. 😉
Enjoy this prayer for when you can’t sleep.
Praying for peaceful sleep
Oh Heavenly Father, as I lay my head down to sleep, I ask for your comfort and strength. Ease my mind. Help me to let everything go, and leave it all in your hands. Give me peace that I may sleep without tossing and turning.
Encamp your angels around me, that no harm will come to me or my household. I cover each and every member of my household in the blood of Jesus.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.
Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Encamp your angels around me, that no harm will come to me or my household. Click To Tweet
Praying for a restful night
Almighty God, bless my night, and bless the coming day. I’m so tired and anxious, burdened by the cares of the day. Lay your hand upon me and quiet my restless soul. Cradle me in your protective arms, dear Lord. Give me rest that tomorrow will be a very productive day.
Refresh me fully and fill me with your joy, oh Heavenly Father. Wipe away my tears of today. I repent of my sins and look to your Holy Spirit for guidance and protection. In Jesus name, Amen!
Psalm 56:3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
Psalm 46:1-2, 10-11 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear…Be still, and know that I am God…the Lord Almighty is with us.”
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. -Psalm 30:5. Click To Tweet