It hardly seems necessary to introduce this post by explaining who John Calvin was. The influential French theologian who guided the church in Geneva for so many years and set the tone for large swaths of the Protestant Reformation doesn’t need much introduction. So I’ll just point out that he died on May 27, 1564. In honor of his amazing life and ministry, today’s prayer comes from him. It’s a prayer that Calvin wrote for use before going to bed.
O Lord God, who hast given man the night for rest,
….as thou hast created the day
….in which he may employ himself in labour,
grant, I pray, that my body may so rest during this night
….that my mind cease not to be awake to thee,
….nor my heart faint or be overcome with torpor,
….preventing it from adhering steadfastly to the love of thee.
While laying aside my cares to relax and relieve my mind,
….may I not, in the meanwhile, forget thee,
nor may the remembrance of thy goodness and grace,
which ought always to be deeply engraven on my mind,
….escape my memory.
In like manner, also, as the body rests may my conscience enjoy rest.
Grant, moreover, that in taking sleep
….I may not give indulgence to the flesh,
but only allow myself as much as
….the weakness of this natural state requires,
to my being enabled thereafter to be more alert in thy service.
Be pleased to keep me so chaste and unpolluted,
not less in mind than in body,
and safe from all dangers,
that my sleep itself may turn to the glory of thy name.
But since this day has not passed away
without my having in many ways offended thee
….through my proneness to evil,
in like manner as all things are now covered
….by the darkness of the night,
so let every thing that is sinful in me lie buried in thy mercy.
Hear me, O God, Father and Preserver, through Jesus Christ thy Son.