My dear wife and I have tried to be consistent with saying prayers with our kids before bed time. By no means do we have a “perfect” routine, but we try to recite the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and Luther’s evening prayer when tucking the kiddos in. We don’t always want to do it, but we know it is good for us and for them.
Martin, our youngest (almost 3), is very concerned that everyone is in the room when we pray. The other night Amy was at Wal-Mart shopping and I was putting the kids to bed and Martin said, “Mommy not going to pray?” Of course I told him that mommy was getting food for us to eat and that she would pray later. Martin is able to say phrases from the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and Luther’s evening prayer. Usually he will say the last word of each phrase.
Another custom we have is to sing, “Nun Ruhen Alle Welder” (Now Rest Beneath Night’s Shadow). Occasionally I’ll sing the first verse in German, and then we sing “Lord Jesus…” and then “My loved ones…” like I used to do when I sang for the A Cappella choir at Seward. This was always a well-loved tradition by all of us at the end of our concerts, particularly when we were in Germany (maybe it was only when we were in Germany). It is also a well-loved custom of our family. Sometimes, as I said earlier, we don’t really feel like doing prayers. So we get to the end of the prayers and we’re ready to tuck the children in and Martin wants to sing “Daddy’s song.” It is really quite cute. We like singing that song, or sometimes we sing “Christ Be My Leader” (LW 365, not sure in LSB). I think it is best to have one or two songs that everyone can sing from memory, songs that the kids can learn to look forward to.
It is something to marvel at, but it reminds us of what Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me and do not prevent them, for of such is the Kingdom of God.”