Night Prayer for Families with Children

The Infant Samuel at Prayer

The Infant Samuel by Joshua Reynolds (c. 1776)

Anna and her fellow second graders at our parish are learning some well-known prayers as part of their preparation for First Communion next spring. She already knows three of them—the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be—and we’re working on the others.

Looking over them, I realized that they can all be incorporated into a Night Prayer (Compline) following the basic form of the Liturgy of the Hours. The version I sketch out below is but one possibility. Parts can be added or subtracted or moved around as needed.

(Note: Prayers Anna will memorize are titled in CAPS, prayer leader’s part is proceeded by an L, responses by an R. Parts said by all are in bold. Directions are in italics).

Begin with …

THE SIGN OF THE CROSS

In the Name of the Father and or the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Followed by an Examination of Conscience—saying either …

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

L: I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.
R: You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.
L: Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.
R: Honor your father and mother.
L: You shall not kill.
R: You shall not commit adultery
L: You shall not steal.
R: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
L: You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.
R: You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse.

or

THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS

L: Jesus said the first and greatest commandment is this:
R: Love God with all your heart.

L: And the second is like it:
R: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Followed by …

THE ACT OF CONTRITION

O my God I am sorry for all my sins
Because they offend you who are so good
And with your help I will not sin again.
Amen.

Then say a Psalm, such as Psalm 23.

L: The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

R: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Amen.

(other Psalms appropriate for Night Prayer include Psalms 4, 95, and/or 132)

And a Scripture Verse (Possibly a memory verse like the one below.)

L: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. —Philippians 4:13

R: Thanks be to God.

Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.


I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting.
Amen.

Petitions and Blessings (let the child—or children each add their own along with the parents).

God bless Mom, God bless Dad, God bless (each child by name) …

Continue with blessings for family members, friends, strangers, etc plus any intentions, concluding …

And God bless anyone we may have missed.

Thanksgiving Prayer (written by Julia)

Thank you God for today. Thank you for time to play and thank you for time to pray.

The following three prayers may be said in unison or be broken up as bellow (in a manner similar to that used in praying the Rosary in a group).

OUR FATHER

L: Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
R: Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Amen.

HAIL MARY

L: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

GLORY BE

L: Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
R: as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.
Amen.

And close by repeating  THE SIGN OF THE CROSS and/or praying for the departed and for those absent as follows.

L: May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.
R: And may God be with us, and with our absent family and friends.
Amen.

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