Motherhood crept up on me.
I know I know, I had nine months to prepare for my first child. But as an only child myself, I was not exposed to a lot of babies, much less taught how to care for little ones.
I followed my doctors advice and actually didn’t read any parenting books while I was pregnant. However, the one piece of advice I received that seemed universal was to use a schedule and stick to it.
A typical Type A personality, I can now recognize (in hindsight) I may have taken this advice a little too far, not allowing anyone to vacuum around my kids while they were sleeping and even making sure they had to be at home in their cribs for their nap each afternoon.
Still, I think they turned out okay (actually, better than okay), in large part thanks to one thing: prayer.
And not just any prayer, a “special prayer” from Proverbs.
My son, keep your father’s command and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them always on your heart; fasten them around your neck. When you walk, they will guide you; when you sleep, they will watch over you; when you awake, they will speak to you. For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life… - Proverbs 6:20-23
I honestly can’t remember exactly how I came upon these verses, but I can tell you that we started praying them over our daughter from the day she was born and every night since. By the time our son was born 19 months later, our daughter was reciting it along with us every night, even though she had barely learned to speak.
To this day, almost a decade to the day after our first child was born, we still say those same four verses together as a family just before goodnight kisses and hugs.
Our bedtime routine has shifted over the years as our children have grown, but one thing that has remained a constant in our nighttime ritual is our “special prayer” from Proverbs 6:20-23.
Believe me, there have been those exhausting days where all I wanted to do was tuck my kids in bed and walk out without praying, but even if I pause too long after kissing them, they will ask, what about our special prayer?
If you’re wondering where to start or maybe have never prayed with your children before, a sweet book is A Night Night Prayer. As someone who came to know Christ in my twenties, I literally had no concept of what a prayerful bedtime routine looked like. We especially love that this book incorporates thankfulness, gratitude and, of course, prayer into a bedtime routine that children want to be a part of. If you are looking to begin a new bedtime routine with your little ones, A Night Night Prayer is a great place to start!
Every family’s nighttime ritual will look different, but just remember, the key is consistency… and of course, love.
Post originally written for FaithGateway.com