By Rebecca Barlow Jordan, Crosswalk.com
Most children will deal with nightmares at one time or another, especially when they are young. While we try to protect them as much as possible, inevitably they will hear or see something that can open a window of fear in their hearts. Whether it’s news of a school disaster, a loud thunderstorm, a disturbing movie, or simply an overactive imagination that triggers their fears, our kids need extra comfort and prayer to help send away any bad dreams. If your child struggles with nightmares, here is a goodnight prayer you can pray for them:
A Goodnight Prayer to Help Your Child with Nightmares
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you that you love us more than we can even imagine. You are always watching over us, for you never sleep. You have promised never to leave us alone, so we pray for your protection tonight while we sleep. Calm our hearts and tuck us safely under the blankets of your sweet love and care. Thank you that you will keep us company all night long, and you will even place angels around us to guard us and protect us. Your presence is like a soothing song and melody that sings us to sleep, chasing away any nightmares.
Jesus, you are mighty and you are strong, like a fierce warrior who fights for us. You created this world, and you created everything in it, including us. How powerful you are! Even though bad things may happen in this world, you will let nothing remove us from your love. You hold us firmly in your strong hands. When we close our eyes tonight, help us to remember all the special promises in your Word that you give us to calm our fears.
Your Word says you are like a strong tower, a place where we can run to and be safe. You are the Light of the World, and you are brighter than any nightlight where we sleep. We can trust you, Jesus, because you never fail us and are always here with us—during the night or day. You are big enough to handle all our problems, and you love to share our joys. We can talk to you like our best friend anytime, day or night, and you will always listen.
You are like a huge tent that covers us and keeps us safe. Even when it’s loud and stormy outside, your arms hold us tight, never letting us go. You fill our hearts with peace. There is nothing and no one stronger than you. In our hearts, we believe in you, and we believe your promises. We can feel your presence and your love, even though we can’t see you with our physical eyes.
As we go to sleep, fill our thoughts with happy things, like the way you showed such special love for children in the Bible. You love to bless them, to hold them, and to let them know how important they are to you. Jesus, you must think we’re pretty special, because you even dance over us with happy songs. You love to bless your children, and we love to give you praise for all you do.
Give us peaceful dreams tonight. And when we awake in the morning, we will face the day with happiness, courage, and strength, ready for a new day you have planned especially for us.
Good night, Jesus, and thank you for the sweet dreams that you will give us.
How to Help Your Child with Nightmares
Try to allow for calming times before sleep, and keep the same bedtime, if possible, each night. Guard screen time and be wary of what they read or watch. Avoid harsh words or arguments. Children love bedtime rituals, and these contribute to their security. Reading a simple story to young children and singing a familiar praise song with them can help soothe fears. Familiar things like a favorite stuffed animal or soft blanket add a touch of comfort as well. Laugh with them often.
Pray for your child and with them, using some of the prayer promises and blessings in God’s word about Jesus’ love and care for them. Ask them if they would like to pray a simple prayer to Jesus as well. Little ones can even repeat a short prayer after you, but teaching them to pray themselves will help build their courage and familiarity with talking to Jesus. Even after they are asleep, pray over them, asking God to protect and guard their heart and mind. Throughout the day, keep praying for your child that Jesus will keep their thoughts positive and peaceful.
Place Scripture cards of comfort around your child’s bed or room, appropriate for their age, and encourage them to memorize them during the week. Make a game of rehearsing the Bible verses throughout the week. Take time to listen to your kids, and don’t dismiss their fears. Ask them to share their fears or nightmares with you. Let them know how much you and Jesus love them with hugs and gentle words. Tell them how Jesus has helped you in times when you’ve been afraid.
Turn a nightlight on in their room, and leave the door open a bit to help them feel safe. When they awake from a bad dream or nightmare, encourage them to call out the name of Jesus, and assure them that He hears their cries and prayers. Let them know that you are not far away. Help them visualize a comforting picture of Jesus before going to bed: maybe Jesus holding them in His arms or walking beside them hand in hand.
Bible Verses about Peace to Share with Your Child
"I will lie down in peace and sleep, for though I am alone, O Lord, you will keep me safe." (Psalm 4:8 TLB)
"You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!" (Isaiah 26:3)
"And God's peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)
"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you his peace at all times and in every situation. The Lord be with you all." (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
"He will command His heavenly messengers to guard you, to keep you safe in every way." (Psalm 91:11 VOICE)
"Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You." (Psalm 56:3)
"For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
"Yet in the light of day, the Eternal shows me His love. When night settles in and all is dark, He keeps me company— His soothing song, a prayerful melody to the True God of my life." (Psalm 42:8 VOICE)
"Then Jesus took the children in his arms and blessed them by placing his hands on them." (Mark 10:17 CEV)
Our children live in a world vastly different from ours when we were young. They are exposed to fearful events and things at a younger age than most of us were. Yet Jesus never changes. He is still loving, faithful, and available. Don’t be afraid to ask Him to whisper peace to your child in his dreams. He still speaks in all kinds of ways, and He is not shy about guarding His little ones.
Thank Him for the privilege of caring for your child, and ask Him for wisdom in helping them with nightmares or other scary situations. Jesus will fill you with that perfect peace as you continually cast your own cares upon Him.
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/Tijana87