The Prayer

It is night. It is 10:00 pm. It is quiet.

My pajamas are tangled around my legs, and my legs are tangled around the sheets. My sister sleeps in the bed across the room and I can here Perry Mason on the tv down the hall. I suck my thumb and toss and turn and crunch my pillow under my head but sleep does not come.

The light seems brighter than usual and it sneaks under my lashes to open my eyes. The tossing begins again and then the crunching of my pillow and the wrestling of the sheets. Then I recognize the anguish inside my little head. I am worried. I am worried about dying. I am seven and I am worried. "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 sould to take." How is it that young children said this prayer before bed. It still haunts me. Every night in my early years growing up we would say this prayer before lights went out. I cannot image why.

As I toss occassionaly now, I think of that particular night long ago and wonder why I am tangled once again in the sheets, and how the pillow does not comfort my head to sleep. Then I realize I am worried again. How many years have passed and yet the night is still the same when we are alone with our own thoughts. My prayer is different now. My prayers are comforting. I pray and sleep surrounds my thoughts and the worries are gone.

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Barbara Dykhouse said...

Donna, I have similar memories of being terrified by that prayer when I was a child. As a young mother, I taught my children to pray, "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Guide me safely through the night and wake me with the morning light." When I am able to tuck my grandchildren into bed and say a prayer with them, I am happy to say it is not a rote, memorized prayer but instead a prayer from the heart.

Andrea L - EnchantINK said...

Always the best remedy for sleepless nights, Donna! So glad ... you grew up and found this truth! I remember as a child being smacked if I didn't go to sleep at night. There were nights where I just tried as hard as I could ... and yet sleep would not come. It wasn't disobedience ... I just simply couldn't sleep. I vowed that I would never smack my children for not sleeping ... and I never did! I never got upset if they weren't asleep ... as long as they were quiet and stayed in bed. Because ... like you mentioned ... children do have nights of worry ... and they need reassurance that all is well. Thanks for your memories ... they kindle long lost ones of mine! Hugs xxaxx