In my childhood German-speaking home, Dad called our large family together each evening for Schluss before bedtime. Schluss is a German word that means conclusion or ending. Schluss was our time of family devotions. Dad read a passage from his German Bible. Then we knelt and took turns praying aloud in German, from oldest to youngest. As the youngest of eight, I often fell asleep before my turn came, so Dad changed the order from youngest to oldest, and I prayed first. I still fell asleep by the end and was carried to bed. But at least I prayed.
When we were young, our parents taught us to recite the following prayer at bedtime:
Christi Blut und Gerechtigkeit
Das ist mein Schmuck und Ehrendkleid.
Da mit werd ich vor Gott bestehen,
Wenn ich im Himmel werd eingehen. Amen.
Translated into English this means:
Christ’s blood and his righteousness,
These are my jewels and radiant dress.
With these before my God I’ll stand,
When I arrive at heaven’s land. Amen.
As we grew older, Dad encouraged us to pray in our own words. Many family members still follow in our father’s footsteps and conclude each day by praying with their spouses or children as they tuck them into bed. I pray that future generations will find each day’s closing blessed with Schluss.
“From generation to generation we will recount your praise” (Psalm 79:13 ESV).