Christian Child’s Prayer

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Christian child’s prayer is Christian prayer recited primarily by children that is typically short, rhyming, or has a memorable tune. It is usually said before bedtime, to give thanks for a meal, or as a nursery rhyme. Many of these prayers are either quotes from the Bible, or set traditional texts.

While termed “Christian child’s prayer“, the examples here are almost exclusively used and promoted by Protestants. Catholic and Orthodox Christians have their own set of children’s prayers, often invoking Mary, Mother of Jesus, angels, or the saints, and including a remembrance of the dead. Some adult prayers are equally popular with children, such as the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31, Matthew 7:12), the Doxology, the Serenity Prayer, John 3:16, Psalm 145:15–16, Psalm 136:1, and for older children, The Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23.

For the history of Christian songs for children, see Boys’ choir § Middle ages & early development, nativity play, and Sunday school § Development.

Bedtime prayer

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Main article: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Original version
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen

More recent variants:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Guide me, Jesus, through the night
and wake me with the morning light
Amen

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Keep me safe through the night
and wake me with the morning light
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I’ll assume I’ll rise rested and at peace.
For I know all day I tried my best
To treat all others with respect.

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

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
If I should live another day
I pray the Lord to guide my way

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
There are four corners on my bed,
There are four angels overhead,
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
God bless this bed that I lay on.

Cross Holy Book Bible Reading Religious Hand

praying Christian child

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Main article: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

Luther’s Evening Prayer

Further information: Luther’s Small Catechism

I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast graciously kept me this day, and I pray Thee to forgive me all my sins, where I have done wrong, and graciously keep me this night. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

The New England Primer

Evening Prayer from the 1777 New England Primer:

O Lord God who knowest all Things, thou seest me by Night as well as by Day. I pray thee for Christ’s Sake, forgive me whatsoever I have done amiss this Day, and keep me all this Night, while I am asleep. I desire to lie down under thy Care, and to abide forever under thy Blessing, for thou art a God of all Power and everlasting Mercy. Amen

Lullabies

Now I lay you down to sleep
And pray the Lord your soul to keep
May angels guide you through the night and wake you in the mornings light
My sweet so tiny and sweet
You’ve had your day
You’ve had your play
But now it’s time to say good night
My sweet so tiny and sweet

Now the Day is Over

Further information: Sabine Baring-Gould

1. Now the day is over,
Night is drawing nigh;
Shadows of the evening
Steal across the sky.

2. Now the darkness gathers,
Stars begin to peep,
Birds and beasts and flowers
Soon will be asleep.

3. Jesus, give the weary
Calm and sweet repose;
With Thy tend’rest blessing
May mine eyelids close.

There are five additional verses.

Sleep my Child and Peace Attend Thee

Main article: Ar Hyd y Nos

Lullabies in German

Der Mond ist aufgegangen

Main article: Der Mond ist aufgegangen

Weißt du, wie viel Sternlein stehen

Main article: Weißt du, wie viel Sternlein stehen

Brahms’ Lullaby

Main article: Wiegenlied (Brahms)

Lullabies in Latin

The Virgin’s Cradle Hymn

Main article: The Virgin’s Cradle Hymn

Lullabies in Scottish

Baloo Baleerie

Main article: Baloo Baleerie

Lullabies in Welsh

Suo Gân

Main article: Suo Gân<

Lullabies in Armenian

Koon yeghir, pahlahs, atchkert khoop ahra

Main article: Lullabies of Armenia § Example in Armenian

Lullabies in Swedish

Vaggsång till Jesus

Main article: Vaggsång till Jesus

Sleep Baby Family Newborn Sleeping Mother Child

Sick child

Morning Prayer

Luther’s Morning Prayer

Further information: Luther’s Small Catechism
I thank Thee, my Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, Thy dear Son, that Thou hast kept me this night from all harm and danger; and I pray Thee to keep me this day also from sin and all evil, that all my doings and life may please Thee. For into Thy hands I commend myself, my body and soul, and all things. Let Thy holy angel be with me, that the Wicked Foe may have no power over me. Amen.

White Paternoster

Main article: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John § “White Paternoster”

The New England Primer

Morning Prayer from the 1777 New England Primer:

Almighty God the Maker of every thing in Heaven and Earth; the Darkness goes away, and the Day light comes at thy Command. Thou art good and doest good continually. I thank thee that thou has taken such Care of me this Night, and that I am alive and well this Morning. Save me, O God, from Evil, all this Day long, and let me love and serve thee forever, for the Sake of Jesus Christ thy Son. Amen.

Morning Songs

Morning Has Broken

Main article: Morning Has Broken

Morning Songs in Swedish

Din klara sol går åter opp

Main article: Din klara sol går åter opp

Giving thanks

Further information: Grace (prayer) § Typical Christian grace prayers

God Is Great

God is great and God is good.
And we thank him for our food.

By his hands we all are fed.
Thank you, Lord, for our daily bread.
God is great and God is good,
And we thank him for our food. Amen.

Thank You Lord

Thank you my God for the day you have given us!
Thank you because you are great and worthy.
Thank you for another day of living,
Thank you for each breath we have taken
Thank you for dying on that cross my God
For our sins!
Forgive our sins, Lord
Amen

Come Lord Jesus

Main article: Common table prayer

Come Lord Jesus, be our guest,
let this food to us be blessed, Amen

A Slovak Lutheran tradition adds a second verse:
And may there be a goodly share
on every table everywhere.

A variant often used in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod is

Come Lord Jesus, be our guest,
let these gifts to us be blessed, Amen

The Lord is Good to Me

Main article: Johnny Appleseed § In modern culture

All Good Gifts

The chorus to We Plough the Fields and Scatter may be used as a table grace:

All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord
For all His love

For this Food

For this food and joy renewed, we praise your name, O Lord!

Little Girl Praying People Wishing Pray Religious

Little Girl Praying

Organized prayer

Regent’s prayer

Almighty God,
we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee,
and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents,
our teachers and our country.

Philmont grace

Main article: Wilderness Grace

For food, for raiment,
for life, for opportunity,
for friendship and fellowship,
we thank you, O Lord.

S Bar F grace

For the gifts of food and freedom,
And the hills to roam.
For the crimson sunsets
And the Earth, our home
For the stars at night
And the gentle winds in the trees
We thank you, Great Spirit, for all of these

Spirituals

He’s got the Whole World in his hands

Main article: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

He’s got the whole world in his hands.
He’s got you and me, brother in his hands.
He’s got you and me, sister in his hands.
He’s got the little bitty baby in his hands.
He’s got the whole world in his hands.

Michael Row The Boat Ashore

Main article: Michael Row the Boat Ashore

Michael, row the boat ashore, Alleluia!
Michael, row the boat ashore, Alleluia!

Sister help to trim the sails, Alleluia!
Sister help to trim the sails, Alleluia!

The river is deep and the river is wide, Alleluia!
Milk and honey on the other side, Alleluia!

Jordan’s river is chilly and cold, Alleluia!
Chills the body, but not the soul, Alleluia!

If you get there before I do. Alleluia!
Tell my people I’m coming too. Alleluia!

Kumbaya

Main article: Kumbaya

Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Main article: Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen

Go Down Moses

Main article: Go Down Moses

We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Main article: We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder

Children, Go Where I Send Thee

Main article: Children, Go Where I Send Thee

Every Time I Feel the Spirit

Main article: Every Time I Feel the Spirit (song)

I Shall Not Be Moved

Main article: I Shall Not Be Moved

I’m So Glad, Jesus Lifted Me

Main article: I’m So Glad

Dem Bones

Main article: Dem Bones

Ezekiel Saw the Wheel

Main article: Ezekiel Saw the Wheel

Lord, I Want to Be a Christian

Main article: Lord, I Want to Be a Christian

When the Saints Go Marching In

Main article: When the Saints Go Marching In

We Shall Overcome

Main article: We Shall Overcome

Carols

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Main article: The Twelve Days of Christmas (song)

Away in a Manger

Main article: Away in a Manger

He is Born, the Child Divine

Main article: Il est né, le divin Enfant

Light One Candle for Hope

Main article: Natalie Sleeth

A la Nanita Nana

Main article: A la Nanita Nana

Thy Little Ones, Dear Lord are We (Norwegian)

Main article: Her kommer dine arme små (Article in Norwegian)

Oh, Come, Little Children

Main article: Ihr Kinderlein, kommet

Other songs

Jesus Loves Me

Main article: Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me – this I know,
For the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me.
The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me, he who died,
Heaven’s gate to open wide.
He will wash away my sin;
Let his little child come in.

Jesus loves me, loves me still,
Though I’m very weak and ill.
From his shining throne on high,
Comes to watch me where I lie.

Jesus loves me! He will stay
Close beside me all the way
Then his little child will take
Up to heaven for his dear sake.

Jesus Loves the Little Children

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
They are precious in his sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

  • Words written by preacher Clarence Herbert Woolston (1856–1927)
  • Sung to the 1864 Civil War tune “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!” by George Fredrick Root
  • Inspired by Matthew 19:14: Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
  • Some versions change Woolston’s original words slightly by inserting the color “brown” between “red” and “yellow.”
  • Some modern versions read ‘Ev’ry colour, ev’ry race, all are cover’d by His grace’ instead of ‘Red and yellow, black, and white, all are precious in His sight.’
  • Alternate lyrics:

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Fat and skinny, short and tall,
Jesus loves them one and all,

OR

Jesus died for all the children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in his sight,
Jesus died for all the children of the world.

Praise Him, Praise Him

Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love;
Praise Him, praise Him, all ye little children,
God is love, God is love.

Three verses following this replace “praise” with “love,” “thank,” and “serve.”

All Things Bright and Beautiful

The chorus of All Things Bright and Beautiful has been recommended for children ages five and younger.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Give Me Oil in My Lamp

Main article: Oil in My Lamp

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee

Main article: The Hymn of Joy

Zacchaeus Was a Wee Little Man

Main article: Zacchaeus (song)

This Little Light of Mine

Main article: This Little Light of Mine
I’m going to let it shine this little light of mine I’m gonna to let shine this little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine let it shine let shine oh aye

I’ve Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy

Main article: I’ve Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy

I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb

The original text in German begins with Weil ich Jesu Schäflein bin (although the article is in German, it discusses multiple English translations).

See also: Henriette Maria Luise von Hayn (article in German)

Children of the Heavenly Father

(original in Swedish, Tryggare kan ingen vara)
Main article: Tryggare kan ingen vara

Jesus, remember me / When you come into Your kingdom

Main article: Jacques Berthier

In My Life Lord, Be Glorified

Main article: Bob Kilpatrick

Lord of All Hopefulness

Main article: Lord of All Hopefulness

My Tribute (To God Be The Glory)

Main article: My Tribute (To God Be The Glory)

Seek Ye First

Main article: Seek Ye First

Jesus Bids Us Shine

Main article: Jesus Bids Us Shine

Vi sätter oss i ringen (Swedish)

Main article: Vi sätter oss i ringen

Historical songbooks

Print Sources

  • Bobb, Barry All God’s People Sing. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1992, 316 pp.
  • English Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri and other States. Sunday-School Hymnal. Pittsburgh: American Lutheran Publication Board, 1901, 464 pp.
  • O’Neal, Debbie Trafton Thank you for This Food: Action Prayers, Songs, and Blessings for Mealtime. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1994, 32 pp.
  • Johnson, David A. My First Hymnal. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011, 128 pp.
  • Kirkpatrick, William J. Joy and praise: a Sunday-school song book Cincinnati, Ohio: Fillmore Music House, 1908, 266 pp.
  • Wesleyan Methodist Church The Methodist Sunday-school hymn-book, compiled by direction of the Wesleyan-methodist conference London: Wesleyan-Methodist Sunday-School Union, 1879, 488 pp.

References

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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