Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

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World War I poster of the United States

Now I lay me down to sleep is a classic children's bedtime prayer from the 18th century.

Text[edit]

Perhaps the earliest version was written by George Wheler in his 1698 book The Protestant Monastery, which reads:[1]

Upon lying down, and going to sleep.

Here I lay me down to sleep.
To thee, O Lord, I give my Soul to keep,
Wake I ever, Or, Wake I never;
To thee O Lord, I give my Soul to keep for ever.

A later version printed in The New England Primer goes:[2]

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.

Other versions[edit]

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray my lord my soul to keep, In the morn when I awake Please teach me the path of life to take. Grace Bridges 1932

Now
I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
His Love to guard me through the night,
And wake me in the morning's light amen.[3]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Please angels watch me through the night,
And keep me safe till morning light.[3]

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
Angels watch me through the night,
And wake me with the morning light.
Amen[4]

Now I wake to see the light,
As God has kept me through the night;
And now I lift my voice to pray,
That Thou wilt keep me through the day.

It is sometimes combined with the "Black Paternoster", one version of which goes:[5]

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
Four corners to my bed,
Four angels round my head;
One to watch and one to pray
And two to bear my soul away.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Protestant Monastery; or Christian OEconomicks, containing Directions for the Religious Conduct of a Family, 1698
  2. ^ The New England Primer Archived 10 May 2017 at the Wayback Machine, 1750 ed., p. 23.
  3. ^ a b Debbie Trafton O'Neal; Nancy Munger (1994), Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep: Action Prayers, Poems, and Songs for Bedtime, Augsburg Books, p. 6, ISBN 978-0-8066-2602-4
  4. ^ James Limburg (2006), Encountering Ecclesiastes: a book for our time, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, p. 103, ISBN 978-0-8028-3047-0
  5. ^ I. Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), ISBN 0-19-860088-7, pp. 357–60.
  6. ^ "Poltergeist (1982 film) Quotes | IMDB".