Prayer of St John of Damascus Before Sleep
For Remembrance of Death
To be said pointing at the bed:
O Lord, Lover of men, is this bed to be my coffin, or wilt Thou enlighten my wretched soul with another day? Here the coffin lies before me, and here death confronts me. I fear, O Lord, Thy Judgment and the endless torments, yet I cease not to do evil. My Lord God, I continually anger Thee, and Thy immaculate Mother, and all the Heavenly Powers, and my holy Guardian Angel. I know, O Lord, that I am unworthy of Thy love, but deserve condemnation and every torment. But, whether I want it or not, save me, O Lord. For to save a good man is no great thing, and to have mercy on the pure is nothing wonderful, for they are worthy of Thy mercy. But show the wonder of Thy mercy on me, a sinner. In this reveal Thy love for men, lest my wickedness prevail over Thy unutterable goodness and mercy. And order my life as Thou wilt.
(As sleep is the image of death, at night we pray for the departed.)
With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but life everlasting.
When about to lie down in bed, say:
Lighten my eyes, O Christ God, lest I sleep in death, and lest my enemy say: I have prevailed over him.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Be my soul's Defender, O God, for I step over many snares. Deliver me from them and save me, O Good One, in Thy love for men.
Now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Let us not silently hymn the most glorious Mother of God, holiest of holy Angels, but confess her with heart and mouth to be the Mother of God, for she truly bore God incarnate for us, and prays without ceasing for our souls. Amen.
Kiss your cross, and make the sign of the Cross from head to foot of the bed and from two sides, and then say:
Prayer to the Venerable Cross
Let God arise, and let His enemies be scattered; and let those who hate Him flee from His presence. As smoke vanishes, let them vanish; and as wax melts from the presence of fire, so let the demons perish from the presence of those who love God and who sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross and say in gladness:
Rejoice, most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, for Thou drivest away the demons by the power of our Lord Jesus Christ crucified on thee, Who went down to hell and trampled on the power of the devil, and gave us thee, His venerable Cross, for driving away all enemies. O most precious and life-giving Cross of the Lord, help me with our holy Lady, the Virgin Mother of God, and with all the Saints throughout the ages. Amen.
Just before getting into bed, say:
Guard me, O Lord, by the power of Thy holy and life-giving Cross, and keep me from all evil.
Just before yielding yourself up to sleep, say:
Into Thy hands, O Lord Jesus Christ, my God, I surrender my spirit and body; bless me, save me, and grant me eternal life. Amen.
Before retiring (or if one prefers, before beginning prayers), go through all the points suggested below in your mind and memory.
1. Give thanks to Almighty God for granting you during the past day, by His grace, His gifts of life and health.
2. Examine your conscience by going through each hour of the day, beginning from the time you rose from your bed, and recall to memory: where you went, how you acted and reacted towards all persons and other creatures, and what you talked about. Recall and consider with all care your thoughts, words and deeds from morning till evening.
3. If you have done any good, do not ascribe it to yourself but to God Who gives us all the good things and thank Him. Pray that He may confirm you in this good and enable you to do other good things.
4. But if you have done anything evil, admit that this comes from yourself and your own weakness, from bad habits or weak will. Repent and pray to the Lover of men that He may forgive you, and promise Him firmly never to do this evil again.
5. Implore your Creator with tears to grant you a quiet, undisturbed, pure and
sinless night, and to enable you on the coming day to devote yourself wholly to the glory of His holy Name.
6. If you find a soft pillow, leave it, and put a stone in its place for Christ's sake. If you sleep in winter, bear it, saying: Some did not sleep at all.