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.
This prayer is a classic children’s bedtime prayer from the 18th century. It was first printed in Thomas Fleet’s “New England Primer” in 1737.
It also appeared as a nursery rhyme in the book “London Jingles” by J.G. Rush in 1840. That version is slightly different.
I lay me down to rest me,
I pray to God to bless me;
If I should sleep and never wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
This bedtime prayer can be scary for children.
Here is one version of the prayer that omits the reference to “if I die before I wake” with this substitution:
Now I lay me down to sleep;
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Thy love guard me through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.
Some have also tried to blunt the fear of death in this prayer by adding one additional line to the short version:
If I live another day, I pray the Lord to guide my way.