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.
I grew up saying the bedtime prayer. Mamaw taught it to me before I could even recite my ABCs. Every night I folded my hands together and prayed. Those prayers always ended with blessings for everyone I knew – and some I didn’t.
I taught the same prayer to the girls when they were little. Belle took her prayers seriously. She wanted to make sure all of us were headed to heaven. I remember one day when she was about 5, she looked up at us as we were about to eat supper and asked: why don’t we pray before we eat?
Out of the mouths of babes, am I right? I have no idea why we didn’t bless our food every evening. Brandon and I both grew up saying the blessing. With that one question, Belle brought us back to our roots. We’ve blessed every meal we’ve eaten since then.
It’s funny to think of it that way, but prayer is part of our culture in North Carolina. We are, after all, part of the Bible Belt. Most of us grew up attending church every Sunday, blessing our meals, and saying our nightly prayers. Many continue to do so long after we’re grown.
I fall into that category. I still pray when I lay my head down at night. I pray for forgiveness, peace, and wisdom. I pray for the state of the world. I pray for the people I love – and those who’ve done me wrong. I pray for everyone. And these aren’t just prayers – like when I was a child, I send blessings.
Even if my prayers go unanswered… even if they don’t fix the world or change any hearts, I figure they can’t hurt.
Did you grow up saying bedtime prayers too? If so, do you consider it part of your culture?