This is more or less the prayer that I pray with my little girl every night. She's just over a year old now. I put my hand on her head and speak these words. Often, not always, it seems to soothe and calm her. She squirms a little less and chirps a little softer and submits to this strange ritual, as if she somehow knows that to be prayed over is a blessing and for her good. Whatever she knows or doesn't about what is happening, this act is a consistent reminder to me of the power of words, and the power of speaking to God. I am reminded each time I pray this prayer that she is not mine but his, and that I am utterly dependent on him to guard and keep her. He gave her to her mother and me and, in baptism, we gave her back to him so that she could bear the name Christian and become not only our daughter but our sister in the Kingdom which knows no favoritism. Now she is simply entrusted to us so that we can teach her what it means to be a child of the King, and to serve well in his Kingdom of creation. And yet, each night I put her to bed with a kiss and a prayer and trust that Jesus will give her back to me smiling and screeching the next morning. And he does. What a wonder.
Father in Heaven please hear our prayer.
I pray for Noelle that you would protect her tonight.
Let no harm come to her.
Keep her from all danger.
Drive the evil one far from her.
I pray Father that you would forgive her sins and mine.
Please let her always know and love you,
and let her always know your love.
Please grow her faith even now,
and let her grow up into a faithful Christian woman.
Help her mother and me to lead her in this.
Father I pray that you would give her good rest now,
and help her to sleep well.
I pray these things in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.