Dear Members and Friends at Trinity Lutheran Church,
We are all familiar with the old bedtime prayer, “Now I lay
me down to sleep.” Looking at the
source of all human knowledge (Wikipedia) the prayer appeared in the New
England Primer of 1784. There were
earlier versions of it as well.
I find it neat we do a prayer from early American
history. I like to end the prayer,
“for Jesus sake” because the blessing we ask for in the prayer is indeed tied
to the death and resurrection of Christ.
I don’t think this prayer would have become popular if it
were written today because of the talk of death. Life was harsh back in the 18th century and death
could come upon people suddenly and even at a young age.
Our children are much more sheltered from that darkness. “If I should die before I wake,” may
seem harsh to modern ears, but it is still a proper prayer for young and old
alike. We need to keep in mind
that we will not be long in this world despite the wonderful advances in
Death and taxes befall us all. It is wise that Christians ever keep an eye to that
end. Thankfully we need not look
with fear. The perfect love of
Jesus for us casts out even the fear of death. When we keep death in our minds we understand (1) all we own
is but “gilded dust.” This cannot
be our hope and joy. (2) the need
to store up treasures in heaven much more than in our IRAs.
Consider using other night time prayers as well. Below are two examples. First is Luther’s Evening Prayer. The last prayer is stanza 3 of the hymn
“Lord Thee I Love with All My Heart.”
“I thank You, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Your dear Son, that You have graciously kept me this day; and I pray that You would forgive me all my sins where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Your hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let your holy angel be with me, that the evil foe may have no power over me. Amen.”
“Lord, let at last Thine angels come, to Abr’ham bosom bear me home, That I may die unfearing; And in this narrow chamber keep my body safe in peaceful sleep until Thy reappearing. And then from death awaken me, That these mine eyes with joy may see, O Son of God, Thy glorious face, My Savior and my fount of grace. Lord Jesus Christ, my prayer attend, my prayer attend, And I will praise Thee without end.”