Praying with Children
"May the light of God surround you, the love of God enfold you, the power of God protect you, the presence of God watch over you." I learned late in my mom's life that she had prayed this prayer every day over each of her children whenever they left home. She had also prayed it each night with my dad.
Prayer can have tremendous power on both the prayer and the one being prayed for. Just how do we begin teaching our children to pray? As children we were taught a simple prayer that we recited every night before we went to bed. In the article "Six Simple Tips for Teaching Children to Pray", author Mary Fairchild, notes that children can begin to learn to pray before they even talk. Children can learn about prayer by seeing you pray and by you praying with them. These can be prayers you say until they are old enough to say it themselves. If you learned and repeated a prayer every night as a child, I bet you can still say that prayer today.
Here are the first parts of a couple of bedtime prayers. They shouldn't be too long. And then children can always add their own prayers to the end of the recited prayer. These are from "Seven Bedtime Prayers for Children"
Written by Kim Lugo for her grandchild, I love this prayer for praying over your little one.
Please bless this child that I love.
Let her sleep all through the night
And may her dreams be pure delight.
When she wakes, be by her side
So she can feel your love inside.
As she grows, please don't let go
So she will know you hold her soul.
This one, by Michael J. Edger III MS, could easily be taught to children - adding verses as they got older.
Time to rest my sleepy head.
I pray to you before I do.
Please guide me down the path that's true.
God, my friend, please bless my mother,
All your children--sisters, brothers.
Oh! And then there's daddy, too--
He says I am his gift from you.
God, my friend, it is time to sleep.
I thank you for a soul unique,
And thank you for another day,
To run and jump and laugh and play!
So if bedtime is a problem in your household, perhaps a calming prayer and a feeling of protection, love, and guidance can help before they drift off to sleep.