Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Perfect Bedtime Prayer- The Daily Examine


If you’d like a prayer that will truly help improve your nightly rest- and improve your trust in God- the Daily Examine is a good place to start.

I learned this ancient prayer years ago and have made it part of my nightly routine.

The Daily Examine was taught in the early 1500s by Ignatius Loyola, a Spanish monk. He devised the Examine while he lived in a cave for a while, spending his time learning to seek God.

Over the years, many versions of the Daily Examine have been developed. Here is the Examine I practice:

Each night, before I go to sleep:

1. I examine my day. Where did I see God at work in the world around me?

Maybe I saw a beautiful sunrise or heard a wren sing. Maybe I saw God’s handiwork in a the colors of the trees or the chirps of the crickets.

2. I examine my day. Where did I see God at work in people around me?

Maybe a student had a moment of insight. Maybe I saw God bless someone by providing for a need.

3. I examine my day. Where did I see God a work in me?

Maybe He revealed to me another character issue (kind of a daily event…). Maybe he brought a Scripture verse to life for me.

I note these things and thank God for them. That is the Examine.


The Jesus Prayer


This may be the world’s simplest prayer: The Jesus Prayer. It is a brief statement:

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God,

Have mercy on me, a sinner.

This little phrase is called “The Jesus Prayer” and has its roots in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. (The story goes that originally, the old monks prayed only the first phrase of the prayer. However, when a number of young whipper-snapper monks joined, they added the humble line to help the novices maintain perspective- they didn’t know it all- haven’t “arrived” yet, everyone is a work in God’s progress…  good thoughts for us all.)

As I have learned to pray The Jesus Prayer, it has become a lovely way to relax with God and ready myself to listen to Him.

I simply breathe in slowly while saying (I say it silently), “Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God”.

Then I exhale slowly while saying, “Have mercy on me, a sinner”.

I find that my body slows down, and after a few repetitions of the prayer, my mind slows down, too. Soon, I am able to put aside the chaos of life and simply concentrate on the meaning of the two lines.

And then, amazingly, I am feeling relaxed and trusting. And can listen when God directs.

Give it a try!

Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God,

Have mercy on me, a sinner.

Appreciating the Prayers of the Past


Lately I have been enjoying joining the saints of the past in praying some of the prayers that they wrote down for us.

This prayer is often called St. Patrick’s Breastplate. Try spending a little time with God through this prayer:

I bind unto myself today

The strong name of the Trinity,

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One and One in Three.


I bind this day to me forever

By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;

His baptism in the Jordan river;

His death on Cross for my salvation;

His bursting from the spiced tomb;

His riding up the heavenly way;

His coming at the day of doom;

I bind unto myself today.


I bind unto myself the power

Of the great love of the cherubim;

The sweet ‘wel done’ in judgement hour,

The service of the seraphim,

Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,

The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophet’s scrolls,

All good deeds done unto the Lord,

And purity of the virgin souls.


I bind unto myself today

The virtues of the starlit heaven,

The glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

The whiteness of the moon at even,

The flashing of the lightning free,

The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

The stable earth, the deep salt sea,

Around the old eternal rocks.


I bind unto myself today

The power of God to hold and lead,

His eye to watch, His might to stay,

His ear to hearken to my need.

The wisdom of my God to teach,

His hand to guide, His shield to ward,

The word of God to give me speech,

His heavenly host to be my guard.


Against the demon snares of sin,

The vice that gives temptation force,

The natural lusts that war within,

The hostile men that mar my course;

Or few or many, far or nigh,

In every place and in all hours,

Against their fierce hostility,

I bind to me these holy powers.


Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,

Against false words of heresy,

Against the knowledge that defiles,

Against the heart’s idolatry,

Against the wizard’s evil craft,

Against the death wound and the burning,

The choking wave and poisoned shaft,

Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.


Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.


I bind unto myself the Name,

The strong name of the Trinity;

By invocation of the same,

The Three in One, and One in Three,

Of Whom all nature hath creation,

Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:

Praise to the Lord of my salvation,

Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

This is the 1889 translation by C.F. Alexander