I bet we all said this prayer as children: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” While I understand the sentiment, there’s something about ending the day focused on death that unsettles me. I want my kids to rest well, assured that their futures in heaven are safe and secure because of the work of Jesus on the cross and his invitation of love in their lives. I’d rather they boldly claim that promise instead of making a timid request each night just to be safe.
I’d rather look back on a day with my kids and celebrate all that God has done, recount the places where we saw God, invite God’s peace into our hearts as we rest, and place tomorrow into God’s care. “If I die before I wake” can cause a “Just in case I’m not right with God, I better get this in” mindset when God has made us right already. God has claimed us, promised us a future in heaven, and empowered us to live with joy instead of fear.
—Jenny Youngman, Scrambled Starts: Family Prayers for Morning, Bedtime, and Everything In-Between (Upper Room Books, 2015)
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For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
—Psalm 62:1-2 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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