There are lots of ways to end the day. Science has shown that gratitude has lasting benefits, and the end of the day is an ideal time to practice saying “thanks.” A prayer at the end of the day helps us shift our perspective from what we did to what we have received — that bit of sunshine, an inspiring moment at work, the strength to endure in a difficult situation.
The Church has also come to associate nighttime with considering the end of our life, the moment when we will lay down in this world and awake in eternal life. The practice of saying an intentional “goodnight” now can help us to say “goodnight” as preparation for a happy death.
There is never a wrong way to pray. In many ways, the words we choose matter less than the desire and action of raising our hearts to God. Yet if you are looking to close your day with prayer, here are some words to start with.
Protect us Lord as we stay awake;
Watch over us as we sleep,
That awake, we make keep watch with Christ,
And asleep, rest in His peace.
— Gospel canticle from Christian night prayer
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
And if I die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
you have been with me throughout this day.
Please keep me once again through this night,
and give me what I need
to wake up to know and do Your Will tomorrow,
—Mary Ann Wilson