A Proper Nighttime Prayer for a 3 Year Old

Updated on October 21, 2008
S.S. asks from Fleming Island, FL
100 answers

Hi, my husband and I say the prayer "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" with my 3 year old son every night before we go to bed. He loves saying prayers before each meal and bedtime. In his bedtime prayer, part of it is, "If I Die Before I Wake", and I was wondering if that is okay for my son to learn. Is he too young to know about dying? He doesn't ask any questions about the words of the prayer at this point, he just loves to say them. Please help me decide if this prayer is something I should continue, or is there a better prayer that we should be saying at this point in his life. Thank you.

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So What Happened?

Thank you so very much for all of your wonderful responses. We've decided to alternate the wording at this point, and when he's a little older, we'll just add the "correct" version of it at the end or something. You all are wonderful, thank you mommas.

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N.S.

answers from Orlando on

We also ommited that part and instead we say "See me safely through the night and wake me with the morning light"

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K.J.

answers from Orlando on

Instead of saying "If I should die before I wake..." try "The angels watch me through the night, until I see the morning light.

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E.D.

answers from Daytona Beach on

I usually say instead of that line...."may angles watch me through the night, and keep me safe until morning light."

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T.M.

answers from Panama City on

Dear Stef,

That's a good question. Honestly, I grew up saying that same prayer and to me it was more like a nursery rhyme than an actual prayer to God. I never questioned the words either, but it honestly wasn't teaching me how to talk or communicate with God. As a Christian preschool teacher of 3 yr. olds, we would have prayer time where we would teach the children to say their own prayers by asking them to tell God what they were thankful for that day, or if they wanted to ask God to help someone in their family who was sick or having some kind of problems. I was always amazed at how open their little hearts are to talk to God just like he is a close friend, rahter than learning a nursery rhyme prayer. Try it and see what your son says, you may be amazed!!

Blessings,
T.

1 mom found this helpful

V.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi.
I remember going through the same dilemma. For a while we said "angels watch me through the night" as a substitute. But then I thought, why? Death is part of life. Today we shelter our kids from too much. Lots of kids don't understand sickness or ill health or even age... they've never been to visit anyone at the hospital (not allowed?) or in a nursing home (there was a time when these individuals were cared for at home by family- with kids), and I'd bet there are TONS of kids that have been kept from funerals, too. Why? The only way they learn to deal with these parts of life, is to be exposed to them.
I learned "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" as a young child and wasn't "scarred" by it, and there are thousands of others just like me.
If it bothers you, I would teach him a new prayer altogether. If he is up to trying, you could teach him The Lord's Prayer. As he gets older you can have conversations about what each petition in the prayer means. We taught ours at an early age and they still pray it every night. It's the Lord's own words... how much better prayer can you pray?

1 mom found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi Stef,
My husband and I strive to teach our children that there shouldn't be a 'memorized' prayer that they say for certain occasions but instead that they should just talk to God because He is their Heavenly Father. So, for bedtime we tell them to tell God what they are thankful for (mommy, daddy, siblings, their pets, their friends, their home, teachers, etc.) then they usually pray that they will have a good nights sleep with GOOD dreams ( :-) ) That usually works for my children to get them started realizing that God is actually there and not just a 'figure' that you read about.

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S.B.

answers from Miami on

Praying with your child is always good. He won't really remember much about the words since he is so young. You might just write your own prayer, or substitute any rhyming word for "die", he won't know. I taught my son the Jewish prayer Shemah in hebrew, ending with God bless mommy etc. He didn't know the meaning of the words but he knew we prayed. When he was 3, I instructed him in saying, "and may God help me to grow up to be just like daddy" and he said, "No, let me grow up to be myself". So go figure what they know at 3. Asking for God's blessing is the point you want to make. God bless you and your family.

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J.J.

answers from Daytona Beach on

Hi Stef
We say the same prayer w/my son, he's 28 mos. (but a very big talker) and that's the same prayer I said as a child. I beleive it's a great prayer to learn early on because it is asking God to take care of you for life and after life on earth. Plus as a child I never had a fear of death, because it was talked about in a familiar way....and I still feel that way [email protected]____.com. I think what you are teaching your child is wonderful....God will take care of us, always! On earth and in heaven....you are giving him the basic to lean/build on....don't dout yourself, go w/it. God will give you the answers you need as questions come up w/your child, what a great way to learn. God Bless....J. j

J.D.

answers from Boca Raton on

Continue!!!!!! Your child is NOT too young to learn about death, we had to start explaining death to our daughter at around 3 because we had fish and as you know fish do not have the longest lifespan.........................Honestly in prayer your son might not make the connection with the words he is saying and death so you may be worrying about nothing.....Also we kinda explained death because in cartoons the characters get hurt really bad and bounce back and we explained that it's not reality that if you get run over by a car (for example said in a parking lot)you will die.

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B.V.

answers from Orlando on

Hi Steph,

Saying prayers at bedtime is such a WONDERFUL thing to do with your son. My husband and I started with our little girls and still pray every night with them. They are now 11 and 12. It's neat to see how their relationship with God has grown through their prayers.

I understand your dilemma about the "die" part. A nice version of that prayer goes like this....

"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the lord my soul to keep,
thy angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning's light."

Hope this helps!

Blessings,
B.

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K.M.

answers from Boca Raton on

This is our verse.....

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the lord my soul to keep
Watch me as I run and play
And keep me safe both night and day.
Amen.

We also say thanks for the blessings we are given each day and to bless others too.

KM

KM

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J.M.

answers from Gainesville on

My daughter is 3 as well and she says a similar prayer, just altered to take that part out. She either says "Now I lay me down to sleep, I prayer the Lord my soul to keep and if I pass before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to keep."
And the other is "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. And the angels watch me through the night and keep me in their bless-ed sight"

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T.F.

answers from Orlando on

At that age I spoke with my son about who we want to pray for and have God watch over-- then we would name our family members and anyone else who came to mind. As my son got older, he would add things like "everyone we know and even people we don't know yet, and all of the animals"

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S.C.

answers from Boca Raton on

Hi there.. I actually received a little prayer book from my mother-in-law for my son (22months) and it reads:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Angels watch me through the night
and keep me safe till morning light.
Hope this helps!

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M.W.

answers from Port St. Lucie on

Hi Stef,
I have said the same prayer with my now 9 yr old and 5 yr old children since they were both very small. I changed the part in question to "Angels watch me through the night, till I wake to morning light." It has worked out very well and they know nothing about the other version.

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D.R.

answers from Miami on

Hi there,

I agree with you ..i have a 3 month old..and i dont like to use the word "DIE" ..i tend to skip that part.

if you want i can forward to you some prayers i got online for children.

but thats a good thing he loves to pray, thats what we are trying to teach our daughter from an early age!

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H.A.

answers from Miami on

i appreciate you thinking about this...i used to say this prayer as a young child too, and it always creeped me out, but i thought i had to say it. what i do with my little one (and any other little ones i've ever tucked in :) is say a prayer of blessing, thanking god for who or what we're thankful for (kids looove repetition and familiar names, so this is a fun way for them to list loved ones) and then pray for our/their safety, happiness, and health. it's more uplifting and comforting that way...still asking for protection, but not necessarily thinking mortally.

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B.H.

answers from Miami on

I think it depends on what you and your family are most comfortable with. Some three yr olds understand the concept as well as any three yr old needs to ("why did the flower die?", while for others, the subject alone opens doors to a host of questions.

Basically, go with your gut feeling as to how simply your lil one will process info relating to death. If he gets upset when an ant is squashed...I'd hold off on the convo for a bit. If he does the squashing, well, I'd say he'd be okay... ;)

Another option is to change the prayer ending. Instead of "...if I die b4 I wake..." you can say "May angels guide me thru the night & wake me with the morning light".

~B.

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J.N.

answers from Orlando on

I felt the same way with my two children. I was taught the prayer you described and said that version when I was little, but as a mother I decided to alter it to this version:
Now I lay me Down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
May angels watch me through the night
And wake me with the morning light.

Sleep tight,
Jennifer

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P.P.

answers from Tallahassee on

My daughter has a little prayer angel and it has a different version which I like better.

"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. The Angels watch me through the night and keep me in their blessed sight. Amen."

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P.M.

answers from Jacksonville on

We say:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
The angels watch me through the night
And keep me safe until morning's light
Amen.

I have a 3 year old as well & encountered the same concerns. We actually have a stuffed animal that says this prayer when you squeeze his tummy... which is where I snagged it from. Good luck!

--P. M.

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T.B.

answers from Miami on

Your son is too young to understand the meaning of "dying" so I'd have to say that he is reciting something from memory, like the ABC song or something else that he remembers.

Prayer is a very large part of our family. I've tried to teach my children to pray to God like they are talking to a friend. Demonstrate how to pray for others needs/concerns by doing it yourself. Is it wrong to allow him to continue to pray this prayer that your son knows by heart? I wouldn't say it's wrong at all. It's a building block to prayer and I'd have to say that at 3, you can show your son how to pray, not from memory, but from his heart. Three years old is a little young for him to understand how to pray "from the heart" but by hearing you and your husband pray out loud, he will learn how to pray as well.

I hope this has helped.

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M.H.

answers from Orlando on

i think it is fine.
ask him his favorite thing he did that day too and remind him to thank god for it.

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A.

answers from Boca Raton on

I personally don't like the "death" part of that prayer and wouldn't say it with my 3-year-old.

I've heard an alternate version and during that part it says, "The angel watch me through the night, until I wake in morning light. Amen."

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B.N.

answers from Boca Raton on

We say "angels watch me through the night, till I wake in morning light instead.

hth

B.

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K.L.

answers from Jacksonville on

Hi Stef,
I say this prayer with my daughter, who is 32 months and she loves it too. I think it's perfectly fine and she even already associates the word "die" with going to heaven to be with God. I think that's age appropriate enough for now. There is a great little book you can get at Barnes & Noble too (or probably any good book store), called "Give me Grace" which has a wonderful little prayer for each day of the week, with great illustrations. My little one loves it and we read it in addition to our regular prayers.

She also know the words to the Lord's Prayer, although does not usually recite it with me every night, just now and then. They have great memories at this age and I am really interested in building her relationship with God now and carrying it through her life.

Hope this has helped you!
K.

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C.M.

answers from Miami on

We have an edited, more pc correct version of the prayer that replaces "if I should die".
So it goes:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
May the angels watch me through the night
And keep me in their blessed sight.
Amen.

Hope this helps.

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B.P.

answers from Miami on

We too felt that was morbid and taught our children a modified version:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Angels watch me through the night
Until I wake in morning light
God Bless....(this part can take a while sometimes)
Amen

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S.F.

answers from Melbourne on

Hi Stef,

The way we say our is like yours but when we get to the end we switch it up a little.

"Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Angels watch me through the night
Keep me safe till morning light
God bless Everyone"

Hope this helps!

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J.K.

answers from Boca Raton on

I was worried about the same thing as it was something that scared me too when I was little.

My brother gave my son an angel doll that said the same prayer but made it a little less "scary" for kids. Hope this small change helps! Good luck!

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
"MAY ANGELS WATCH ME THROUGH THE NIGHT
AND KEEP ME SAFE TIL MORNING LIGHT"

Hope this helps!
J.

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B.R.

answers from Gainesville on

Hi, Stef,
You sound like a caring, wonderful mother. I thought exactly as you do about the "if I should die before I wake" and this is what I made up to solve that problem. Our 4 sons all said this every night. It is positive and comforting.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Keep watch o'er me throughout the night
And wake me at the morning's light.

Let me know what you think. It worked for us.

Bev Ryerson

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T.S.

answers from Panama City on

Stef,

I have to be honest, it is kind of a pet peave of mine to hear ritualistic prayers from kids. I have taught my 4 kids to pray from their hearts. Granted, sometimes it can get a bit lengthy, but that's ok if it is coming from their heart. I modelled praying and then I would ask them what things they want to pray for and then take it one step at a time and walk them through it. As they grow, I teach them to 1st-give thanks to God and 2nd-ask forgiveness for any sin and 3d-pray for others and 4th-pray for the sick and unsaved and then 5th-pray that God will help them to be obedient to Him and to us. This helps them to take the focus off of "Lord, please give me this or that.." kind of prayers. As they grow, we move into new levels of prayer.
While they are young, they may get stuck on praying for every animal that ever roamed the earth, but you can help them move on to other things.
I have noticed with the "memorized" prayers that nieces and nephews say, they tend to try and hurry through them, not really having any meaning to it. My children are not afraid to really talk to God. And that's what prayer is, it is having a conversation with your creator and the sustainer of life. It should be personal, not rehearsed. We should show Him honor by our prayers being a form of relating to Him and humbling ourselves before Him.
Take Care,
T.

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B.C.

answers from Ocala on

I think it is ok- mine learned the same one and never ask any questions about.
as they got older they learned this one -sending it for you to keep in mind: "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; gaurd the bed that i lay on. four corners to my bed, 4 angles round my head.one to watch and one to pray and two to keep all fear away.Amen."

some people pray the now i lay me down to sleep a little different it goes like this: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.Thy love stay with me through the night, and wake me with the morning light. Amen."

so it is up to you.

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N.M.

answers from Daytona Beach on

I do think 3 years old is a little too young to be thinking about that every night. This is what we say:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
May angels watch me through the night
And waken me by morning light.

Hope that helps!

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H.D.

answers from Miami on

I would go with what your belief system and your gut tells you. If it feels wrong, then find another prayer that doesn't mention death at this point.

At 3, I would not start explaining about death or giving him anything to worry about. He might get anxious if he starts to think that you too might die someday. Enjoy the baby stage, it goes sooo quickly!
Good luck.

H.

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W.G.

answers from Daytona Beach on

I taught my girls this version:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my sould to keep
And angels watch me through the night
until I wake in morning light.

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L.W.

answers from Miami on

It is up to you if it is okay. However I can lend a suggestion. When I was little my mom replaced that sentence with "god bless grandma and grandpa, mommy and daddy," then we said all of my brothers and sisters names and then said "and all our friends" hope that makes sense. You can do the same with "god bless and choose who to list and bless" Good Luck.

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A.N.

answers from Jacksonville on

I think it's okay for a 3 yr old to say those words. Also, you can teach him how to pray with his own words. You can give him ideas on things to be thankful for and things to ask for. It may take a little while, but it is really sweet and super cute to hear a child's prayer.

Oops, I guess I was a little late in answering this. It looks like you already got a lot of great responses. Hooray to all mothers who teach their children to pray.

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J.G.

answers from Orlando on

Hi Stef,
I said that prayer every night of my childhood into the primary grades. I don't know if I knew what death was or not. To a child of that age, they are just words without a meaning. Hence, nothing negative can come of it. If he asks you, I'd give a short basic explanation (1-2 min) that is consistent with what you believe (religiously and spiritually). If you are afraid of death, then I suggest you have your husband or another close relative who isn't afraid of death to give the explanation. If you are afraid of death, that underlying feeling may be sensed if you are not careful to mask it.
I hope this helps!
J.

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D.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

When raising my now almost 22yr old, 18yr old,12yr old and now almost 3yr old I taught them a slightly different prayer. Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, guard me Jesus through the night, and wake me with the morning light. This was on a Home Interior picture back in the 80's when I had my first son. Prayer became a nightly ritual for all of them. Keep up the good work. D.

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C.M.

answers from Miami on

My 2 1/2 year old daughter says that one too, but we've changed the words a bit.
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, The angels watch me through the night, and keep me in their blessed sight...AMEN.

Hope this helps, I didn't like the if I die before I wake part either.

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C.B.

answers from Orlando on

Hi Stef
So sweet of your little boy and great for you to train him up so well. I have four..and my personal take on it is that God has promised us long life..so I don't pray that because life is not about "if's" and wondering if today is THE day to die. Today is a promised life...we have to control our words and walk in his promises and truth...your words are powerful..so I teach my kids to guard their hearts and words...and make sure you can finish each sentence with "because that's the way I want it to be!"...yep, we're extreme and BLESSED because of it.
Hope that helps!

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H.D.

answers from Tallahassee on

We have a doll that says the prayer and it says "Angels guide me through the night, and wake me with the mornings light." I say it the "old" way when we do it without the doll.

My grandma died when my daughter was 3 so she already had experience with it but she never said anything about it. I guess it just depends on what you tell the child about death. I don't know that at 3 they need to know about funeral and burial and all that.

Since you're saying prayers I assume you have some sort of religious beliefs so perhaps you could read some bible stories about Heaven and go from there - if he asks. I wouldn't worry too much about it unless he asks. :)

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L.W.

answers from Orlando on

I was taught that prayer as:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Guard and keep me through the night
And wake me with the morning light.
I hope this helps! It was my favorite prayer as a child.
L. W.

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J.G.

answers from Orlando on

My son says the same prayer however in the part that says " If I die before I wake" You can use "Let angels watch me through the night and wake me with the morning light". That is what we use and I like it way better! That way you nor him have to worry about the othere part.
Let me know what you have decided.

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C.S.

answers from Daytona Beach on

Hi! I found this prayer in a book and we say it each night to my 2 year old. I know it's not the original prayer but I too wasn't comfortable saying "If I die before I wake" to my little girl.

"Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
May angels watch me through the night
and keep me in their blessed site. "

Good luck!

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J.W.

answers from Miami on

I remember my friend had a version that didn't have that part in it. I'm sure it's somewhere online. I'm sure it doesn't hurt though. I think that it is good for them to learn about it. I grew up Catholic and started Sunday school when I was 2 and never had a fear of death. My husband grew up without religion and still has a constant fear.

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S.T.

answers from Orlando on

Is he saying prayers because he likes to or because he loves the Lord? I think if he doesn't understand what it means, no big deal. My daughter was 3 & son was 1 1/2 when we introduced them to the church & it began them saying prayers. We never said a memorized prayer, but something from their heart, at meals & bedtime & anytime they didn't feal good or felt they needed help in any way. This started out as a, thanks for the day & Mom & Dad & our cat thing & as they have grown they are able to put more feeling into where they think God needs to help them. Maybe talk to him why you pray & allow him to make a new prayer every n ight using things that have happened through the day. I hope that helps!

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J.E.

answers from Orlando on

Hi! I have an almost 3 yr old (will be in Dec.) and we say that prayer, but I changed it a little bit...

instead of "If I die before I wake...." we say "may angels watch me in my bed and only sweet dreams in my head. Amen"

I don't think saying it the original way would hurt,either, though.
Good luck.

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W.C.

answers from Miami on

now i lay me down to sleep
i pray the lord my soul to keep
may angels watch me thru the night
and keep me in their blessed sight.

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M.C.

answers from Jacksonville on

I decided not to let my 2.5 year old continue with the if I die before I wake version of this prayer. I think she is going to have to deal with death soon enough, between pets and a much older grandmother, that I don't want to add to that by making her think about her own. We've changed the last two line to "May angels watch me as I lay, And keep me save through break of day."

Hope this is useful.

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K.H.

answers from Boca Raton on

Hi I am a mother of 4 and Children's Pastor. I don't believe your son is too young to know about death and long as you approach in a heathly (non scary) manner. My husband & I Also used the now I lay me prayer when our children were younger, I would suggest to you that you be sure to also openly pray at this time with him, let him hear you talk to God and encourage him to talk to God. You can start off with him repeating short simple prayers that you say.... "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for a beautiful Day, thank you for the rain that helps the flowers grow. Bless my friends, grandma, etc. Thank you for loving me always, help me to be a first time obeyer, ....You get the picture be sure to make every prayer time personal, even if you use a standard pray add to it. As he can let him talk to God, it may not be what you would consider as " a prayer" but it will help him learn to openly talk to God about everything. Also be sure to pray with your 10 month old in the same way, have big brother pray over his brother with you. And be sure he sees both mom & dad praying, children learn by example.
Guiding a child to take those first steps of faith can be the most rewarding opportunity of life for parents. Parents who have growing relationships with Christ should create an environment for a child to be introduced to Him from the first days of life. As your children grow and mature, their knowledge of Jesus will grow. By laying these foundations for spiritual conversion, you become partners with the Holy Spirit as He prepares and calls your children to accept Christ as Savior. I will be praying for your family.

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P.T.

answers from Jacksonville on

Here is the version that I use: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, Guide me safely through the night and wake me with the morning light!!

Although, I prefer this version, I believe that at 3 yrs. old, he may not realize what the words mean that he is praying.
Dying is a reality and if he asked, then would be a time to talk to him about it. Heaven is a beautiful & peaceful place, but at 3 I am not sure that thinking he could leave his parents may not scare him a little.

Good Luck and God Bless!!

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J.P.

answers from Boca Raton on

My father said this prayer to me every night when I was a little girl and to this day it is very special to me. Thank you for reminding me I think my son is now old enough at 5 months to start that tradition with him.
This is how he said the prayer to me, it doesn't reference dying, perhaps you want to consider this version:
Now I lay me down to sleep
Pray the Lord my soul to keep
And in the morning when I wake
I pray he guide each step I take

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M.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

Years ago someone shared a modified version of that prayer with me, and that's what I say with my daughter. Instead of "if I die before I wake, etc." we pray "may angels watch me through the night, and wake me in the morning light." I have no idea who came up with that wording, but it sounded much more appropriate to me.

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A.C.

answers from Miami on

I don't think it's inappropriate to say "if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." To me, that's saying if something should happen to me tonight, please hold me and allow me to enter Heaven with you. (the Lord) It depends on what you want for your own child...here's another suggestion. My daughter switches between the two.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Angels watch me through the night
And wake me with the morning light.
Amen.

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A.M.

answers from Daytona Beach on

My 3 year old son has a doll that says the Lord's prayer which he was given at birth. Everytime I lay him down I press the doll so he hears the prayer. I think it's fine for this age because it's more important that they learn to pray and how than what is said.

If you feel uncomfortable you may try to change the words. Don't be shocked if when you do your are told, "no mommy, that's not it" and he says it the way he's learned.

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A.W.

answers from Miami on

Some books say it like this:

"Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
May angels watch me through the night
Until I wake with the morning light."

So obviously you're not alone in wondering about this. i personally think it is important that our children learn from us, the first and most gentleteachers they'll ever have, rather than from some insensitive kid or cousin even. So it's up to you what age your child should be old enough to hear about death.

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T.E.

answers from Miami on

I think it's so beautiful you are teaching him the importance and power of prayer. I have a 3 & 5 yr old whom I do the same with. We do say some scripted prayers that they have learned in school but i also encourage them to say to God what they would like. To thank God and Jesus, pray for others, pray for peace, etc. I let them pray from their heart and it's cute, they pray for their video games too! Recently, my 5 yr old started asking questions like 'mommy, is someone going to take me if I'm bad and put me to die on the cross?' That was a very intense moment for me and I explained who Jesus was as a flesh being and who he is as our Holy Spirit. Not sure if he retained it all, but my point is don't under estimate their brilliant minds, they are always thinking.
God Bless you and yours,
T.

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D.R.

answers from Boca Raton on

Another happier version states "Angels watch me through the night, until I wake by morning light". My son found the idea that angels were around him protecting and comforting him even while he was falling asleep or deep asleep to be very reassuring.

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C.R.

answers from Orlando on

If your son doesn't seem curious about the words in the prayer then let him continue saying them until he does. If after explaining them to him he seems bothered by them, then ask him if he would like to change them. You can easily replace the line with "guide me safely through the night, till I wake with morning's light." Just so you know, I don't think he's too young to know about death. My daughter learned about death at the age of 2 1/2 when one of our beloved pets passed away. I simply explained to her that "Kitty" had lived a long, happy life and that God wanted to spend some time with her in Heaven. It opened the door for some wonderful conversations about life and death, Heaven and God, and amazingly, my now 4 year old still remembers! She doesn't seem afraid of death even though she knows it's permanent. Good luck!

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S.Z.

answers from Miami on

Hi Stef,
I prefer, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, the angels watch me through the night, until I wake in morning light, Amen."

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S.M.

answers from Miami on

Praying with your son is wonderful!
I say a similar prayer with my 4 yr old daughter- but I changed the second line: Lord, be with me through the night, and wake me with the morning light--
I also say a guardian angel prayer:
Angel of God, my guardian dear
To whom His love, commits me here
Ever this day, be at my side
To light and guard, to rule and guide.
Be blessed!

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C.P.

answers from Pensacola on

Hi Stef,
Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.Guard me while I sleep tonight, and wake me safe at dawns first light.
I know there are other versions as well. Many are listed on the internet.
C.

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T.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

I think prayer is a important thing to teach your children. I think you should do what you are comfortable with. Personally, we have never hid death from our girls. They are 4 and 2. When my then 3 year olds fish died. i was so worried about her seeing it and telling her. But my husband insisted that we be honest with her. So we told her that he died. She was okay with it. She even was ready to go get a new one that day. Last week my MIL's dog died and I told the girls about it. I think that if you explain death to them as they ask about it it is so much easier than avoiding the issue. Death is a difficult subject but a neccessary one. So if he asks about dying be honest and expalin just enough to satisfy him. The reason we have been so open about it is because my FIL has had 5 heart attacks in 3 years and his health is not good. We see then about 3 times a week and the girls are close to them. So I know that before they are grown he may pass away and I want them to know about death and it not be a total forgein subject. Do what you are comfortable with and you think he can handle. Come up with your own heart felt prayers. He will value those that come from the heart and grow up knowing he can talk to God about anything in this life. I tell my girls that they can talk to God at anytime even if Mommy and Daddy are not there.

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P.B.

answers from Boca Raton on

That depends on your child- If he seems frightened by the concept of death, an alternate ending might be better. Sooner or later, though, you will deal with the concept,especially if he has great grandparents that are still alive. It may actually make the concept of death less frightful if you leave things as they are..and explain when he is old enough to ask,about Heaven.

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I.O.

answers from Miami on

I also had some reservations about the dying part and found some other versions ( see below) although now that my daughter is older we just let her pray and it's wonderful the things she come up with... praying for kids who don't have food or webkinz or anything.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
When in the morning light I wake,
Teach me the path of love to take.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Guard me Jesus through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
thy angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning's light.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
May angels watch me through the night,
And keep me in their blessed sight.

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Guide me through the stary night,
Wake me when the sun shines bright,
For Jesus' sake. Amen."

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B.M.

answers from Tallahassee on

You might substitute this for that part: "The angels watch me through the night until I wake in morning light." Then, the "Amen." We have a little stuffed "animal" angel that says the whole prayer when you push a button and she says that line instead of the "if I die before I wake" part. Truthfully, that part of that prayer always freaked me out a little as a little one so I'd like to avoid it too. God bless you as you seek to share His truths with your little ones.

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N.T.

answers from Melbourne on

Dear Stef
Try this:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray Thee,Lord,thy child to keep:
Thy love guard me through the night
and wake me with the morning light.
AMEN.

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D.G.

answers from Jacksonville on

My daughter is 3 1/2 and has been saying that prayer for a good year now. She has not yet asked anything about the words but when she does I will just explain to her how when we die we go to Heaven to meet God. I don't think they are too young to learn about that really, we explained how flowers die but really at that age I don't think they fully get it yet anyways. Good luck!

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J.M.

answers from Orlando on

I think your on the right track with praying with your son! Great Job!!

My mom started me praying that same prayer when I was a little girl. That prayer has alway made me feel secure and protected even as a child.

Now that I am 36 and have 4 children of my own I sometimes say it with them. We usually pray with our children nightly and their ages range from 6-13. I think your pray is short,sweet and age approperiate. Although it never hurts to add your personal touch. What your chld will be doing the next day or thanking God for the fun play date you had today. (just some examples)

Like you said he may not understand "death" but at some point he will be introduced to it and to start off hearing the word now is not a bad thing. Death is a part of life and how can you explain Jesus dieing on the cross with out explaining death.

I hope this helps.
Have a great day,
Julz

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R.S.

answers from Pensacola on

I said that prayer when I was a kid...and said it with my kids,so I don't think it's a problem. But, I have heard an "altered" version..."Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, Guard me safely through the night and wake me with the morning light. Amen" HTH!

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W.M.

answers from Orlando on

What I did with my own sons, is change it a little bit.
I heard of it somewhere...

Now I lay me down to sleep;
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Keep me safe throughout the night,
And wake me with the morning light.

Hope this helps!
I also used to make up prayers with them, as they got older.
Keeping it simple, but still praying.

Good luck, and God Bless You and Yours.

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A.M.

answers from Daytona Beach on

We use the same prayer but it ends differently. We say Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep, guard me Jesus through the night, and wake me with the morning light. I didn't like the other version and my triplets really like this one. We started it when they were 3 and still use now @ 5 yrs old. Hope this helps.

A. M.

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P.E.

answers from Panama City on

That prayer has been said for generations. Don't worry about it if he doesn't ask. Explain it just means that he want to go to heaven Teach him to say his own pray. Dear God; thank you for ......... Please help get well..........
I know I wasn't godd to day I did.... I'm sorry and will try to do better. Thank you for watching over my family.

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J.R.

answers from Miami on

We say "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, the angels watch me through the night until I wake the morning light, bless my mom, dad, baby (b/c we have a baby) and all my family, in Jesus name Amen.

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A.C.

answers from Boca Raton on

I know how you feel, that part always gives me the creeps too so I never used it. I was fortunate enough to find a plush bunny toy at Target one year when my daughter was 3(she's now 9) that said this prayer when you squeezed it: "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. The angels watch me through the night until I wake in morning light. AMEN." It still hangs beside her bed and it has the cutest child's voice. I hope you find peace with this prayer instead. It much more heavenly! No pun intended.....
A.
www.carsrudcorner.com

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J.C.

answers from Orlando on

We have been saying this version with our 3 year old since he was born:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the lord my soul to keep,
The angels watch me through the night,
Until I wake in the morning light.
Amen

You can buy stuffed animals that you squeeze that will recite that prayer at Babies R Us!
Hope that helps!

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T.D.

answers from Jacksonville on

I was worried about the same part of this prayer... However,when I discussed this with someone they suggested we say (at that part of the prayer) "May Angels Watch Me through the night until I wake in morning light." This is just a suggestion.....I think that it is great that they love saying their prayers. A seed is being planted now watch it grow!!!!

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C.M.

answers from Miami on

While I didn't have a problem with the original phrase, many people may be afraid for their kids. I never wanted my kids to be afraid of death and always presented to them that death is not the end and pray that our souls are taken to heaven through our faith. If you are not comfortable with the phrasing, several other phrasings are in circulation. My cousin also used this as an alternate:

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Guide me safely through the starry night,
And wake me with the morning light. Amen.

We also used the song (it was their favorite):

Dear Father in Heaven, look down from above.
Bless Mommy and Daddy and those who I love.
May Angels watch over my sleeping and when
the morning is breaking awake me. Amen.

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J.J.

answers from Tallahassee on

Hi Stef. I agree with you, I was uneasy to teach my daughter that prayer, she is also 3. I grew up with the prayer, and as a child I did become very preoccupied (terrified) with dying in my sleep. So, just in case the prayer was the cause, I wanted to steer clear. We are Christians, and we pray before meals, before bed, and sometimes, just because, with our daughter. But before she was born, my husband asked me not to teach her or any future children a set, prayer to memorize. He thought that she'd just memorize it and say it every night without ever feeling it. That made sense, so I went with it. But, with a 3 yr old, some format is needed so she can keep up (she repeats after me). So, we do something like this, with a little variation every night.

"Thank you, Jesus, for today. Thank you for all the time we were able to play outside, we had a great time. Please keep us safe, happy, and healthy. Please watch over Daddy at work and keep him safe. Please be with our family and friends, and bless them. Please continue to bless us as you have. Please help us have good church on Sunday. We love you, Jesus. Please forgive us of our sins. Amen."

My daughter is able to keep with this format very well. We always thank for the day first, then a particular thing about that day. We always ask for safety, happiness, and health, and to watch over "daddy" as he usually works at night. We then pray for family and friends, (who in particular changes). And we're always looking forward to the next Sunday and asking for a good day because my daughter loves her Sunday-school class. If there are any special things that have come up, maybe someone is sick or something, that goes in too. Then we say we love Jesus and ask for forgiveness and that's it. I have noticed that now my daughter will add in her own thoughts when I am finished talking. It is sometimes an odd request she has, but always adorable. This is exactly what my husband and I wanted when we decided not to memorize a prayer. She is already trying to pray on her own, so I seriously doubt she'll ever be resistant to do so. That thought warms my heart.

But each family has their own solution. If ours can't help you, I wish you luck and hope you find something suitable.

God Bless.

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S.L.

answers from Boca Raton on

Hi Stef, the prayer i used to go to bed when i was a kid, my parents taught me was God bless mommy daddy, and my brothers and my grandparents (i would say thier names like grandma and grandpa Nelson and grandma and grandpa Mundo and uncle steve and aunt andrea and so on), so my kids do the same thing, we go thru brothers and sisters and aunt and uncles and grandparents and people we want God to bless before we go to bed including animals or friends that we have , and then we say God Bless everyone we love and miss AMEN. I don't know where my parents got that prayer but i love it with my children, and its a great kids prayer. I hope this helps,
S. mommy to 5 beautiful children 16yrs,9yrs,7yrs,3yrs,and 11 months check out my sons journey at www.liamlockhart.com

K.N.

answers from Miami on

Hello,
My girls 7 & age 4 also say this prayer nightly, but I ommit the "if i die" part. I believe they are too young to understand the meaning of this yet. Maybe when they are both older I'll explain it to them! We ask God to bless our family & friends; and all the people who need His blessings! I hope this addition may be useful to you!God bless you and your family!
Truly,
Kathy N.

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J.Y.

answers from Miami on

I used to say that prayer as a child and never had any problems with it.

My son, on the other hand, didn't like that particular line about dying so we began saying a new prayer at night for him.

"Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
Bless this bed I lay upon.
Four corners 'round my bed,
Four angels 'round my head.
One to sing, one to pray
And two to watch 'till break of day."

He loves this prayer and the comfort of the angels watching over him while he sleeps.

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C.L.

answers from Jacksonville on

That's the way I learned this prayer as a child too. However, my son's Precious Moments bedtime prayer buddy says it this way, which is much better: "Now I lay me down to sleep.....the angels watch me through the night and keep me in their precious sight."

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J.W.

answers from Pensacola on

In my house we say "Now I lay me down to sleep" too. But we say Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep, let angels watch me through the night and keep me in their blessed sight. My kids are six and four.

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M.E.

answers from Orlando on

There are several variations of this prayer. Here is a nice one
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
See me safely through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.

My two year old grandson has also learned the Lord's Prayer.

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A.J.

answers from Orlando on

This is the variation we use...

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Keep me safe, all though the night,
And wake me with the morning light.

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M.K.

answers from Melbourne on

Hi Stef. With my 3 boys we have always said this prayer but changed the "if I die" part to
May angels watch me through the night and wake me with the morning light.

My older boys have moved on to the Our Father but we still say it with our youngest (2 1/2).
Hope this helps.

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K.B.

answers from Orlando on

We say the following prayers with our boys:
(with our 3 year old because this is the way my husband was taught)
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
And guide me safely through the night
And help me see the morning light
(with our twins- this was the way I learned it)
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Angels watch me through the night
Until I see the morning light

I think it's wonderful to say evening prayers before bedtime- we usually end with saying special prayers or blessings for friends or family members who are ill or need extra prayers.

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C.R.

answers from Boca Raton on

I found a happier version of the above prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
May angels watch me through the nigt
and keep in their blessed sight.

The last line I have also heard the version:

May angels watch me through the night
and wake me in (with) the morning light.

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M.F.

answers from Pensacola on

Just to let you know I felt the same way saying that prayer with my soon to be 2 year old... So I substituted the words for "if I die before I wake..." I Now I lay me down to sleep (continue saying regular words)...before us say if…use help me sleep and wake me in the morning light... Hope it helps...

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A.B.

answers from Boca Raton on

Hi, I agree I didn't feel comfortable with the phrase so for my 4 year old we say, "now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep, the angels watch me through the night , until the morning sun shines bright" ...We have said this for the past year and he llikes it very much to know that GOD and his "helpers " are watching oover him.

FROM, A. B.

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K.W.

answers from Jacksonville on

Try this . . .

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. The angels watch me through the night until I wake the morning light. Amen.

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D.B.

answers from Fort Walton Beach on

we do a similar bedtime prayer, but to be honest that line kinda freaks me out to hear my child say. So I found one that is almost the same sans that line.... "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, the angels watch me through the night, until I wake in mornings light, amen." Hope that helps!

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T.R.

answers from Miami on

I recently heard an alternate version of the prayer. Instead of "if I die before I wake", it says " May Angels watch me through the night and keep me in their blessed sight".

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S.F.

answers from Tallahassee on

When my daughter was born, a friend bought her a Precious Moments prayer angel (they have them at Wal Mart). It says the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep prayer, but says "the angels watch me through the night and keep me in their blessed sight". I also bought one for my son when he was born to keep by his bedside in the NICU. That is what we use to teach them their prayers. Hope this helps.
S.

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L.M.

answers from Boca Raton on

Hi Stef,

I would really appreciate it if you could remind me of the whole prayer I seem to have forgotten some of the words. I would to teach it to my almost 2 yr old. Thank you so much. I think it's wonderful!
LisaM
www.DiscoveryToysLink.com/LisaRyan

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M.L.

answers from Orlando on

That same "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep" can be said this way...

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Guide me safely through the night
and Wake me with the morning light.

That is easier for little ones to handle.

Bless you
M.

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J.S.

answers from Orlando on

If you're not comfortable with it, here's how we say it in our house "now i lay me....my soul to keep. Angels watch me through the night untill I wake in morning's light, Amen" And bravo to you for getiing your sone excited about praying, it's a great practice no matter how you look at it! God Bless!

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