Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.
- Matthew 19:13a
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
- Psalm 34:11-14
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
- Proverbs 22:6
“Before I lay me down to sleep,
I give myself to Christ to keep.
Four corners to my bed,
four Angels overspread;
One at the head, one at the feet,
and two to guard me while I sleep.
I go by sea, I go by land,
the Lord made me with His right hand.
If any danger come to me,
sweet Jesus Christ, deliver me.
“He is the branch and I’m the flower,
may God send me a happy hour.”
- Honor Books Publishing, God’s Little Devotional Book on Prayer (Traditional Bedtime Prayer)
I would like to differ with the devotional on prayer. I heard that prayer a different way when I was growing up. I said it at bedtime. And as I got old enough to understand what the words meant, I had about the same response that Tim Hawkins dramatizes here.
Yes, that was the way I remember it.
But it seems that bedtime prayers have gone away in many homes. As we have fully been engulfed by the information age, we are inundated by trivial information, and we neglect the important things of God. We do not bring up our children right, hoping they will luck into finding Jesus at some point.
My mother drove Proverbs 22:6 down my throat as an ironclad guarantee, and she said that she had saved me. Then as an adult, I was in trouble if I did not save my children, because of the same verse. But this is a proverb, a wise saying. First, it is not a guarantee. Second, God saves, and we do not. And Third, with my sons, one is extremely moral and upstanding, and the other is rough around the edges, but he loves Jesus, and his children love Jesus too. In a way, they have never departed from their teachings as children. You just don’t know when they are paying attention.
Yet, any good teacher will tell you that repetition is important. Those bedtime prayers might get corny at times, but you can make up your own words, or teach them to say what is on their hearts. And when you do, don’t laugh when you overhear their prayers. But, you might cry.
But I think Tim Hawkins is right. It may be best if you modify the old prayers that my generation grew up with, along with a few nursery rhymes.
But by all means, be involved with your children, and tell them about Jesus and God’s Love.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.