From an early age I remember learning cute children’s prayers to recite before going to sleep. It seemed comforting and a great bonding experience with my parents before bedtime. Looking back, I wonder how effective those prayers really were. Was I building faith? Or was I building doubt, fear, and unbelief into my life? The Word tells you that faith comes from hearing God’s Word. The reciprocal truth is that fear and unbelief comes from hearing the words of the enemy. What seems like a harmless bedtime ritual, may have serious consequences down the road.

I remember one such prayer quite well. Most Christians could rattle this one off without much thought even in their golden years. It dates back to the 19th century and seems harmless enough on the surface. But take a careful look at that third line. Note the conditional statement at the beginning. This prayer is planting the seed that death MIGHT come this very night. Why? And why would this be associated with a prayer to God who came to give you life? Its the enemy that takes life. (John 10:10) As a Believer, is there ANY reason to expect imminent death, when God promises long life? (Exodus 20:12, Psalm 34:11-13, 91:14-16, Proverbs 3:1-16, 1 Peter 3:8-12)

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.

Death is an enemy of man. Jesus came to give you abundant life. Unless you see the return of Jesus first, all Believers will eventually die. But praise God He has given you the ability to influence when and how that happens.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].
Proverbs 18:21 <AMP>

Throughout the Bible we are shown the connection between words and circumstances. Man was made in the image of God, designed to release his faith through words. You say what you believe and believe what you say. You are also warned against idle words, words that have no Kingdom assignment. The enemy seeks to bring you harm through your words. If he can get you to curse yourself, utter words of fear, doubt, and unbelief, he can undermine your faith and bring destruction into your life. This is the lesson of Job. God had placed a hedge of protection around Job, and everything he possessed. That was Satan’s complaint against God. But something happened to bring that hedge down. (Job 1, Matthew 12:34-37, Mark 11:21-24)

Bedtime Prayers

With Long Life I Will Satisfy You And Show You My Salvation.

He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. Ecclesiastes 10:8 <KJV>

Job was not just afraid, he “greatly feared” what might, and eventually did happen to him. He was worried that his children had sinned, so he sacrificed for them continually. This was a man who had no peace, even though God had placed a hedge around him and greatly blessed him.  It was his fear that brought the hedge down and allowed the serpent to bite Job. (Job 1:1-4, 3:24-26)

What would be the result of several years of nightly prayers anticipating that death may come that very night? Is that building confidence in Love Himself? Are you learning to trust His Word? After a childhood of prayers professing doubt and fear, what is likely to come out of your heart when you need to speak the Truth? Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Believers need to be laying down a firm foundation on the Rock, God’s Word, to overcome the storms in life. (Matthew 7:24-27, 12:35-37)

Whether you used this prayer, or taught others to pray it, don’t be condemned. That is not the purpose of this post. Choose your words carefully. You are called to imitate Jesus. What did He do? He always spoke the Truth, quoting God’s Word and what the Father told Him to say. People do not live by bread alone, but by every Word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4, John 8:38-47, 14:23-24)

Faith is built by knowing God’s Word. God’s Word is His will. If the Word promises you long life, and provides many examples of people who lived long and healthy lives, then there is no reason to doubt that He wants you healthy, happy, and living a long and productive life. Take His Word and place it in your heart, and renew your mind, until you have complete confidence that it is always God’s will for you to live long and strong. Pray in agreement with His Word, and use religious prayers with caution.

What would happen if you took a more Scriptural approach to those bedtime prayers?

Now I lay me down to rest,
Guarded by Angels, Spiritually Blessed.
Alive in Christ and complete,
I’m loved by God, so my sleep will be sweet!

I don’t claim to be a poet, so don’t judge me for the quality of the lines above. This is a simple rewrite of the bedtime prayer using God’s Word. Instead of introducing doubt, the prayer declares your faith, because faith comes from hearing God’s Word. (Romans 10:17) I pulled from both the Old Testament and the New, especially the books written to the Body of Christ. No matter what the need, you can find answers in God’s Word. And guess what? It doesn’t even have to rhyme! (Psalm 127:2, Psalm 91:1-16, Proverbs 3:21-26, Matthew 11:28-30, Ephesians 2:1-10, Colossians 2:1-12, 1 John 4:7-21)

When religious tradition contradicts God’s Word, always defer to the Bible. It is the ONLY TRUTH. In the last line of the old prayer, it mentions the Lord taking your soul. The REAL you is a spirit. You have a soul (mind, will, and emotions). And you live in a body. If the Lord just took your soul, it would do you little good without your spirit. Consider the point I am trying to make. These little traditions, sacred cows if you will, can create barriers later in life. If you confuse your soul and spirit, the meat of the Word may become confusing.

And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
1 Thessalonians 5:23 <AMP>

Paul starts with the innermost being, your spirit. This is the real you that is made alive in Christ. Man is made in the image of God, and since God is a Spirit, man must be a spirit as well. The spirit of a man is eternal. It is the inward man that is renewed day by day. The Holy Spirit bears witness with your spirit, which is designed to receive Revelation, while your mind, through your physical senses, receives information. Or to put it another way, the body contacts the physical world, the mind the intellectual, and the spirit the Spiritual world. Its the Word that helps to divide the two. Your spirit feeds on His Word. Once your mind is renewed with the Word of God, you are far less likely to confuse the Truth of His Wisdom, with the reasoning and knowledge of men. The saving of the soul is a process of renewing your mind so that it agrees with your spirit. (Genesis 1:26-27, John 4:24, Romans 8:14-16, 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Hebrews 4:12, James 1:21, 1 Peter 3:4)

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Ephesians 2:4-6 <KJV>

This is the Believers present reality in this age. As Paul wrote in Philippians, he had a desire to depart and be with Jesus. However, staying in the flesh was more helpful to the Believers. There was no question whether he would be with Jesus or not if he left his flesh. Believers need to settle this once and for all. If you are complete in Christ, you are COMPLETE. Your eternal destination is secure. Spiritually, you are one with Christ. You HAVE BEEN raised with Christ. There is absolutely no doubt on this issue if you are a Believer. You are dead to the world, and risen with Christ. Your affection should be on what is above, waiting for when you shall appear with Jesus in glory! (Philippians 1:23-24, Ephesians 2, Colossians 2, Colossians 3)

You can pray with confidence, and fall asleep knowing that you are safe physically and spiritually in Jesus. There should be no fear, doubt, or uncertainty when it comes to the Word of God. Experience, religious tradition, or circumstances never trump His Truth. Plant the Word in your heart. Meditate on it night and day. Pray with confidence knowing that His Word CANNOT fail.

It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Psalm 127:2 <KJV>

When you lie down, you shall not be afraid; yes, you shall lie down, and your sleep shall be sweet.
Proverbs 3:24 <AMP>

Stir up the Holy Spirit inside you. Get excited about God’s promises and make them real to you. Go to sleep confident that God has your back. Study His Word, confess it, and firmly planting God’s incorruptible seed in your spirit. God’s Word is Truth, and it will make you free! (Joshua 1:7-9, Psalm 1:2-3, John 8:31-32, Romans 10:5-13, 2 Timothy 1:1-7, 1 Peter 1:22-25)

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
John 10:10 <KJV>

John 10:10 makes it clear, it is the enemy that takes life. Jesus came to give you a more abundant life. That includes a peaceful night of sleep without any fear of death. Put His Word in your mouth and in your heart. Meditate on His promises of long life, protection, peace, and even a restful night. Then you can confidently proclaim,

My Sleep Will Be Sweet!

Faith Building Exercise

Say these out loud every day until you believe them in your spirit. They will build your faith. Look up these verses and read them as they appear in your Bible. You can always trust God’s Word because He cannot lie.

I dwell in the secret place of the most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. The Lord is my refuge and my fortress. In Him I trust. He covers me with His feathers and under His wings shall I trust. His Truth is my shield. I am not afraid of any terror that comes in the night, or any arrow that flies by day. No evil will befall me, and no plague comes near my house. His angels shall keep me in all my ways. God is with me in trouble and will deliver me. He will satisfy me with long life.
(Psalm 91:1-16)

I bless the Lord at all times, His praise is continually in my mouth. I seek the Lord and He hears me, and saves me from all my fears. The angel of the Lord encamps around me. The Lord is good and I am blessed because I trust Him. I trust the Lord and shall not want any good thing. I desire life and many good days, so I keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking foolishly. I am righteous and the Lord hears my prayers. He delivers me from trouble.
(Psalm 34:1-22)

I praise the holy name of God with all my heart. I Bless the Lord and never forget all the glorious things he does for me. He forgives all my sins. He heals me and saves me. He surrounds me with love, kindness, and mercy. He fills my life with good things. He renews my youth like an eagle.
(Psalm 103:1-5)

I seek God’s Wisdom night and day, and cling to it because length of days and riches and honor is its reward. Wisdom’s ways are pleasant and her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her. I keep God’s Wisdom in front of my eyes, and meditate on it continually. I shall walk safely and shall not stumble. When I lie down, I am not afraid. When I go to bed, my sleep will be sweet. I am not afraid of anything, for the Lord is my confidence and shall keep me safe.
(Proverbs 3:13-26)

My body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. The Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead gives life to my mortal body. I am led by the Spirit of God, therefore I am a child of God, made alive in Christ and seated in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus. I have not been given the spirit of fear. I have the Spirit of adoption, and cry Abba, Father. The Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I am a child of God.
(Romans 8:10-16, Ephesians 2:1-10)

I am not misled or deceived by philosophy, religious tradition, or the reasoning of men. My faith is in Christ Jesus the Lord. In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and I am complete in Him. I am rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith and always thankful. He has made me alive and forgiven me of all sin, blotting out all ordinances against me and nailing them to the cross. Jesus disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross. I died with Christ, and he has set me free from the spiritual powers of this world. I am raised with Christ and my sights are on Heaven, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. My life is hidden with Christ in God, and when Christ appears, I will appear with Him in glory.
(Colossians 2:1-23, 3:1-4)

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