Not long ago, the nonprofit National Sleep Foundation, based in Washington, D.C., conducted a first-of-its-kind survey. A thousand people, ages 25-60, were asked about their sleep habits, and roughly six in 10 reported that they don’t sleep well.
Those results could possibly be attributed to stress and worry, caffeine consumption or watching television or reading a tablet at bedtime. But I also wonder how much sleep is missed (or troubled) because fewer people pray at bedtime—or because of how we pray at bedtime. I’ve posted here in the past about the blessing I’ve found in praying Compline, the “bedtime prayers” of the daily office. Doing so helps me prepare—mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually—for sleep. So the final three prayers offered below come from Compline, and the others are offered as suggestions to choose from and use as part of your going-to-bed and preparing-for-sleep routine:
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh (a verse to the tune of “Taps”).
Glory to Thee, my God, this night,
For all the blessings of the light;
Keep me, O keep me, King of kings,
Beneath Thine own almighty wings (from a hymn by Thomas Ken).
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me (from a hymn by Henry Francis Lyte).
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1, NIV).
Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
hide me in the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 17:7-9, NIV).
Watch, dear Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give Your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend Your sick ones, Lord Christ. Rest Your weary ones, bless Your dying ones, soothe Your suffering ones, shield Your joyous ones, and all for Your love’s sake, amen.
Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel (Luke 2:29-32, NKJV).
Generations of Christians have found comfort and rest in such prayers as those above, and they regularly lead me into rest, so it makes perfect sense to include them in your nightly routine.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30
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. Prayer also helps you see all the good things that happened in your day that you have to be thankful for!
Lord, thank you for this day and everything you sent with it. In the good times and the bad you are my unfailing rock, and I’m so grateful for You. Please forgive me for anything I may have done consciously or unconsciously that offended you or your people. My sole desire is to please you and serve you. As I walk out this life in your presence, help me press into you more deeply and follow you ever more closely until Christ is formed in me.
I also forgive and release anyone who offended me today. I speak blessings over them, their work, their family, and most of all—their walk with you, Lord. Please cleanse my heart of anything that displeases you as I pour out the truth and confess my sins before you.
Your Word says that You give your beloved rest, Lord, and I’m asking you now to minister rest and peaceful sleep to me this night. Holy Spirit please quiet my heart as I submit it to you and help me to quiet my mind. I ask that you would put my body in perfect alignment so that it can prepare for restorative sleep. I ask you Lord to cover, shield, and protect my dreams this night so I only have dreams from you.
Satan, I bind you, in the name of Jesus over my dreams and those of my household. We belong to the Lord Jesus—and I plead the blood of Jesus over us right now. Any spirit not belonging to the Most High God, I command you to leave this property right now, in Jesus’ name. This is a house of prayer, a house of worship, and a house belonging to the children of God.
Holy Spirit and Host of Heaven, I invite you into our midst to be with us and to remove everything that is not of God. Please minister to us and to protect us in all of our ways tonight.
As I rest, Lord, give me ideas, show me your plans, and reveal to my heart anything I need to know. I submit myself as your willing vessel and desire to follow your perfect will. In any area I may be unknowingly rebellious Lord, please deal with my heart and purify me. I am willing to be made willing in all things so that I don’t miss your plans and purposes for my life.
Lord, you are an awesome God and serving you is a treasure. I thank you for providing for me, healing me, redeeming me, and making me your own. You have done great things for me and, regardless of my circumstances, I will choose joy.
In the Almighty Precious Name of Jesus, I pray these things. Amen.
1. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
2. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.
3. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
4. I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the LORD was watching over me.
5. I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
6. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
7. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
The best way for a good night’s sleep is to reclaim your inner peace and rest with a heart united to God
God in heaven,
O One who loved me into being…
Now that the voices are silenced
and the crowded world of projects
and overwhelming noise is hushed,
here, at my bed, I seek your consolation.
My spirit roots for you, as an infant
seeks out the breast,
seeks you as a child seeks
the succor and embrace of a father —
the parent who will whisper,
“Shh, I am with you,”
and bring solace to the soul
with an unconditional love.
I believe in your love,
and I hope in you,
and I pray you will grace me
with the gift of faith, unfailing,
the gift of wisdom, beyond my instincts,
the gift of trust, which is so hard.
I give glory and thanks to you
for this day as it ends,
and beg that you will give me eyes to see
that in all things, you have been with me:
in what was difficult, and what was easy,
in what was anxious and what was peaceful.
In those times I sought you out,
or forgot to,
You were with me, still, and I thank you.
Today, I failed in love; you know this.
I beg you to forgive me.
Today, I lost my temper; you know this.
I beg you to forgive me.
Today, I was selfish; you know this.
I beg you to forgive me.
Today, I felt desolate, unsure, and afraid;
I beg you to reach me, and to teach me again
that you love me, and are near.
That you are, O God, the safest of safe places,
the wayside resting place,
where I may catch my breath,
and seek you out, before going on.
Before I rest tonight,
I must thank you for your love,
beg your pardon for my failings,
and your shelter
from my interior storms.
O my Lord, at this moment, all is calm,
and sleep beckons me.
It is your world!
I place all of my concerns into your hands,
and all of my fears into your Sacred Heart,
the Self-immolating gift that is never consumed.
I believe in you.
Although I cannot understand
all that is before me,
I know all things work toward
the purposes of your mysterious plans
for my own good.
And I trust in this.
And I beg for the gift and grace
to trust you even further,
day by day.
I ask this in the name of Christ Jesus,
seeking the prayers of Mary, his Mother,
and of my guardian angel and patron saint (Name).
I will lie down in peace and sleep comes at once
for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:9)