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Laurie Niles

July 28, 2004 at 5:58 AM

It’s the middle of summer, and it’s hard to know what to say. I’ve just returned from Orlando, Florida, with my two kids and husband, Robert. We were visiting Robert’s parents, sister, grandparents, Disney World, Universal Studios…. Next week we go to Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio, to see my parents and visit all the ancestral stomping grounds of my family. And we’ll go to Cedar Point, to show Robert that it’s actually the world’s best amusement park! All this visiting hasn’t exactly put the final polish on my Tchaik concerto. Add to that the fact that my Suzuki teacher group is in the middle of a rather painful breakup, and…I’m just not in the mood to talk about my musical life!

So I’ll throw out into cyberspace a piece of my personal life, something I have always meant to share with the world. It’s the prayer that I wrote for my children to say at bedtime. I was quite disgruntled with the one I learned as a young Catholic. It goes like this, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

First of all, I’m doing to DIE in my sleep? Then, I’m actually asking for someone to take my SOUL? I didn’t really understand that as a small child. It just sounded scary. And I think it gave my sister a lifelong fear of death.

So I felt that I could improve upon the old prayer, keeping just the first line, which seemed accurate enough. I wanted it to be meaningful to a child. I wrote the new prayer in 1996, while pregnant with my daughter, Natalie, then added the last few lines in 2002, when I was putting it to music and illustrating it for my son, Brian’s, second birthday. I wrote a tune for it that has a six-note range, in keeping with my vocal range! If you want the copy of the music and illustration, write to me. I’ll make Robert put it up on the Internet if enough people do. But for now, here are the words, the part I care about the most.

My Prayer

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray that God watch over me.
Help me be strong, help me be good,
Help me treat others the way I should.

I thank You for the things I have:
The bread on my table, my mom and dad.
Watch over me, help me to see,
So many good things can start with me.

From Emily Liz
Posted on July 29, 2004 at 6:00 AM
Haha, Laurie, that "now I lay me down to sleep" prayer brought back some memories... When I was little and went over to my best friend's house overnight, her mom would always recite that prayer. I was always admittedly a little puzzled. ;)

I'd enjoy seeing the music for your prayer. Hope your music life gets better quickly!

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on August 3, 2004 at 6:06 PM

The prayer you wrote is beautiful. I especially like the last line. Please have Robert post the melody and picture.

I think that you'll feel better when you return to the violin. It will be like returning to an old love.

Best wishes,


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