As a young Catholic girl, I remember kneeling at the side of my bed, saying some formulated Catholic prayers I had learned. This was my nightly spiritual practice taught to me by my mother. But when I got older, I found these prayers useless to me. Why, I thought, should I pray a formed prayer every night? How was it helping me?
One of my non-Catholic friends taught me the typical child’s prayer, “Now, I lay me down to sleep …” which sounded a bit morbid to me!
Finally, I abandoned the practice until I met May McCarthy and read her book: The Path to Wealth.
May McCarthy suggests we offer gratitude and pray for forgiveness every day — preferably before sleeping at night.
Here is the suggested forgiveness prayer listed in her book:
If there is anyone from my past or present that I need to forgive, whether I remember them of not, I now do so. I bless them, I love them, I forgive them, and I release them into your care, knowing that you will work with them in whatever way is best. And if there is anyone from my past or present who needs to forgive me, including myself, they now do so, and we are all free to experience a higher and greater good in our lives.
Since gratitude and forgiveness go together (it is hard to have one without the other), I adopted this nightly spiritual practice.
Over the years, I have altered the practice again to fit my needs.
My Nightly Gratitude Prayer
My last Spiritual Practice of the day is at night — right before I fall asleep.
After clearing my mind off the day’s activities, I relax my mind and body into a meditative state.
I begin by expressing gratitude for my day and all that I accomplished during the day: The completed tasks, the financial benefits generated, the tasty tidbits I digested, and the satisfying moments I experienced.
Try as I might not to fall asleep, I typically blank out during this prayer/practice. But I know it touches the place within, where Spirit resides during this time.
Another bonus to expressing my nightly gratitude is that it creates a deep and restful sleep. I seldom wake up from unpleasant dreams anymore, nor do I sleep so lightly that I wake up too easily.
Expressing gratitude created the perfect end to any day. And, of course, using May’s forgiveness prayer is also a good evening spiritual practice.