Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bedtime prayer songs

Our bedtime routine as I tuck each of my sons into bed a few minutes apart is to sing some songs of their choice from our current bedtime repertoire. Songs that are prayers, parts of our church service music, or easy hymn refrains. I introduced this a few years ago when the older son began resisting bedtime prayers. Over the last month or so our younger son, age 4 1/2, has been asking lots of questions during his songs, and tonight was quite a time.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.
- Mommy, what's 'might'? (before I could answer) oh, that's being strong (makes strong-man arm motions)

Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
(On to our next song, which I often sing after Holy Holy Holy)

Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.
- Where is God? God is all around us (we'd talked about this before, and that was the best I could come up with!). Is Father D--- God?
[Me] No, Father D--- is a person. God is... God, and is with us all of the time.
[Son] Is God with all of the people?
[Me] Yes, God is with all of us all of the time.
[Son] God is right next to us, right?
[Me] Exactly! God is right next to every one of us.

Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks...
- Mommy, what is 'worship'?
[Me] It's giving honor; we worship, we honor... (I didn't know how to explain it off the cuff!)
[Son] (thoughtful silence, I hope)

...we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world...
- (I knew this was coming) Mommy, what is sin?
[Me] Sin is when we do what we shouldn't do, the opposite of what we really should do, what God wants us to do.
[Son] Like when people hurt someone or kill someone
[Me] That's right, or when we say or do things that hurt people
[Son] Hurt their feelings, or hit them like this (mimes hitting!). That's not good.
[Me] That's right. That's sin. We should choose what's right.

...have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father...
- Mommy, what does that mean?
[Me] It means Jesus is in a place of honor next to God the Father. He is God too, they are God together (arrgh, what have I gotten myself into!). (Now, mindful of the next phrase in the song) Jesus hears our prayers in a special way and brings our prayers to... to God. (mumble mumble)

...receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


I had an inkling that this song might teach my kids something of the faith, but I had no idea it might go like this -- all in just a few minutes!

By the way, our current repertoire is
  • "Holy, Holy, Holy"

  • "Glory to God in the Highest"

  • "All Things Bright and Beautiful" refrain

  • "Our Father/the Lord's Prayer" to two different tunes (published one I learned in another parish, and our current organist/choirmaster's composition)

  • "The Lord Is my Shepherd, I'll Follow Him Alway"

  • The children's prayer, "Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, bless this bed I lie upon," set to a charming tune.

Each season of the church year I try out a few new songs. The songs must be fairly quick to memorize, as there's very little light at bedtime in their room, and I don't want to mess with that for the sake of reading music or words. I'm reminded that I'd like the boys to sing with me again, at least more often.

Bedtime song as catechism tonight, I guess!


Zelie said...

What a great idea!

Anonymous said...

My favorite lullabye is Amazing Grace. I remember singing all the verses, over and over, especially when I was pregnant with #3 and the older two were toddlers.

Anonymous said...

My favorite lullabye is Amazing Grace. I remember singing all the verses, over and over, especially when I was pregnant with #3 and the older two were toddlers.


Hula Doula said...

Sounds like a wonderful night time routine!!!
We sing on the back porch swing together and read every night. It puts my mind at peace and the kids too!
Sounds so nice!!!

Rick said...

Thanks for that! The Episcopalian in me loved your post! :)