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)
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.
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Grace before meals is a Jewish tradition that was in some respects followed by Jesus and also Paul, but is not technically ‘commanded’ in a legal sense from scripture.
As far as the overall origin of ‘grace before meals’ I would say it was established in all the ancient sacrifices which included eating portions of the sacrifice. Very early under the Levitical ceremonies food was associated with religious significance. It is no wonder then that a tradition around food has always accompanied various forms of Judaism and Christianity.
According to the rabbinic tradition found in Berakhot, Mishnah-, Tosefta-, Talmud tractate Benedictions:
“It is forbidden man to enjoy anything of this world without benediction,” b. Ber., 35a. “At good news one says: Blessed be He who is good and who does good. But at bad news one says: Blessed be the judge of truth … Man has a duty to pronounce a blessing on the bad as he pronounces a blessing on the good,” 54a. (TDNT, Kittel, p 9.410)
One can witness Christ followed this Jewish custom (he followed many of them) in the miraculous feedings. (See Matthew 15:36). This does not mean that he or his disciples fastidiously had grace ‘before every meal’. The Pharisees who did every thing with ‘caution’ and a reverence to the ‘external’, attacked Jesus’ disciples on one occasion for eating without even washing their hands so it would not be improbable that they also neglected whatever prayers might have been expected upon them.
Alfred Edersheim the Jewish historian actually confidently affirms that most likely Christ’s prayer would have been the typical ‘thanksgiving’:
‘Blessed art Thou, Jehovah our God, King of the world, Who causes to come forth (הַמּוֹצִיא) bread from the earth.’ (Alfred Edersheim , The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 1.64)
It should be noted that the context of scriptures reference to Christ’s observance is a large formally religious gathering in a prayerful need that is about to be miraculously answered. Hardly can this be translated into a legalistic rule mandating prayers of thanks before eating Chicken McNuggets on the run. However there are a few scarce stands of scripture in the Epistles that keep up with this theme, although somewhat always on the circumference of other subjects. First in Acts when Paul is on the stormy ship ‘he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat.’ (Acts 27:34). Note that this occasion was also a formally religious one with calls of help and salvation.
For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4)
See also 1 Corinthians 10:30-31.
However here is what we should really conclude (in my own mind). Paul’s main use of ‘thanksgiving’ was in how he opened many of his letters with prayers. It was a way of life and although it also extended to formal religious meals, meals are not set aside as more special than the thanksgiving for all the good things we receive. The idea that any family who sits down at a table to eat without a prayer of thanksgiving is somehow inferior to one that does, is more of an interpretive cultural notion not directly established in scripture. In fact beyond the few references that I have mentioned little in the entire Bible would suggest ‘grace’ before meals as expected behavior for all Christians. The silence of the Bible on the subject is a strong argument against its legalization.
In the Old Testament ‘thanksgiving’ was most formally identified with singing and in the ‘thanksgiving’ sacrifice. In the New Testament it is sincerely giving our lives to God, in totality and in love to God and our neighbor. This high and extreme thanksgiving must toss aside all other forms as inconsequential especially those having to do with ‘food and drink’. If I was to personally become legalistic in my thinking about ‘grace’, I would probably insist that public prayers be offered in the ‘harvest in gathering’ during our monthly salary banking transactions. Falling onto one knee in our cubicle when sighting our payroll deposit, which comes from God to buy our food and so much more, would be more in-line with Mosaic Law than saying a few words before a meal.
Having said this prayer and thanksgiving is a very good thing, so neither should we judge anyone who feels a duty to formally receive all food in a prayer (whether snacks and drinks are included in this ‘duty’ I leave it to those who concern themselves over it). In either case, whether offering prayers outwardly, or just being happy inwardly, in God’s presence, in all occasions, we should receive in thanksgiving all that we receive, including gratitude for all those blessings contained in brothers and sisters in Christ, that may have their own view about these things.