Meal time is always a good time to get your family together to pray, but I will always cherish the memories I have of praying with my toddlers before they go to sleep at night.
Several months ago, one of my two-year-old twin sons started resisting going to bed at night. He also started waking up numerous times during the night crying and not wanting to go back to bed. Until that time he had gone to bed easily and slept all night without any problems. After a couple of weeks of sleepless nights, we were at our wit’s end.
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Something had upset our son…I had been sick in bed for several days, disrupting his normal routine, and his daddy had gone back to work after being home for a couple of months between jobs.
About the same time one of our cats accidently got shut in his room when he went to bed, and when he woke up in the middle of the night and saw the cat in his room he got hysterical. We will probably never know what caused the disruptions in his sleep, but something definitely needed to change so we could all once again get a good night’s sleep.
One afternoon I was talking to one of my friends on the phone and she asked me if we prayed with our boys before they went to bed. I had always planned on praying with them at night at some point in their lives, but at two years old, they still seemed too young to benefit from and participate in the experience. It certainly couldn’t hurt, however, so we decided to give it a try.
The first night my husband prayed with one son, and I prayed with the other. It was very cute…one of them even closed his eyes! We started praying with them every night, and after about a week we started seeing some amazing results.
Our son who had trouble sleeping started to go to bed again without a big fuss. He did continue waking up several times during the night, but he didn’t cry, and went right back to sleep (he started sleeping through the night again after about two months).
When we would forget to pray, our boys would remind us. They can hardly talk, but would say “pray”, “mommy pray”. They also started participating in the prayers. They wanted to make sure we didn’t forget to pray for anyone! Here is an example of one of our prayers:
Thank you for this day.
Bless (nana, papa, etc.)
We pray for good sleep.
We pray we sleep all night.
We pray for sweet dreams.
We pray we have a good day tomorrow.
In Jesus Name,
One of our boys mostly listens while we pray, and the other repeats the last word of every sentence.
When we start blessing our family they starting listing off the names of all the family members they can think of, which is quite a list! They don’t want to forget anyone. If someone is sick (including pets!) we make sure to pray for them too. We make sure to tell our family members that our sons remember them in their prayers, and this is a great blessing to them.
Our boys really look forward to their bedtime prayers. They close their eyes and hold their little hands in ours. I will never forget those precious moments. They may not yet understand who they are praying to, but they are learning to be thankful for their family and that when they are concerned about something they have someone they can turn to in prayer.
Written by Rachel Paxton.