MARTIN LUTHER’S ORDER FOR EVENING PRAYERS, from the Small Catechism:
In the evening, when you retire, make the sign of the cross and say, “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Then, kneeling or standing, say the Apostle’s Creed and the Lord’s Prayer. Then you may say this prayer: “I give Thee thanks, heavenly Father, through thy dear Son Jesus Christ, that Thou hast this day graciously protected me. I beseech Thee to forgive all my sin and the wrong which I have done. Graciously protect me during the coming night. Into thy hands I commend my body and soul and all that is mine. Let thy holy angels have charge of me, that the wicked one may have no power over me. Amen.” Then quickly lie down and sleep in peace.
As darkness deepens, Lord, do Thou;
A night of quiet rest bestow;
From all our sins grant us release;
And bless us with Thy perfect peace.
–St. Ambrose, as reworked by Martin Luther in 1543
Evening Prayers from the Book of Common Prayer:
Be our light in the darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night;
for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, and shield the joyous; for your love’s sake. Amen.
O God, the life of all who live, the light of the faithful, the strength of those who labor, and the repose of the dead:
We thank you for the blessings of the day that is past, and humbly ask for your protection through the coming night. Bring us in safety to the morning hours; through him who died and rose again for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past; be our companion in the way, kindle our hearts, and awaken hope, that we may know you as you are revealed in Scripture and the breaking of bread.
Grant this for the sake of your love. Amen.
Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, creator of the changes of day and night, giving rest to the weary,
renewing the strength of those who are spent, bestowing upon us occasions of song in the evening.
As you have protected us in the day that is past, so be with us in the coming night; keep us from every sin, every evil, and every fear; for you are our light and salvation, and the strength of our life.
To you be glory for endless ages. Amen.
Psalm 88:1-2 — O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.
Psalm 141:1-2 — O Lord, I call to you; come quickly to me. Hear my voice when I call to you. May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.
Luke 24:28-29 — As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
We thank you, our Father, that you have been with us this day. In a few hours we shall go to bed. Go with each of us to rest. If any awake, make the dark hours of watching endurable. When day returns, call us up with morning faces and morning hearts, eager to labor, eager to be happy, if happiness should be our portion; and if the day be marked for sorrow, make us strong to endure it. Amen.
–Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), the day before he died