My earliest experience with prayer happened when I was very young. My family was traveling from Pasadena, California, to Yosemite in a motor home. There were five children in our family at the time, and my mom was quite pregnant with number six. We thought it was such a great adventure to sleep all together in this rented motor home. But after several hours, our excitement turned to worry when the motor home struggled up a steep grade in the middle of the desert. We made it to the shoulder of the road just as the motor died.
My parents immediately tried to diagnose the issue. Was it electrical? The alternator? We were in the middle of NOWHERE and we hadn’t seen any other cars for a long time.
It was at this moment my 6-year-old heart spoke up and asked, “Could we say a prayer?” “Yes, of course!” my parents answered, and they asked me to pray. I remember feeling peace as I prayed for help from my Heavenly Father. It seemed like just seconds after we said “Amen” that a vehicle pulled over and the driver came to ask if we needed help. Here was this motor home full of 5 children, ages 9 and under, and a pregnant woman. YES! We definitely needed a rescue!
My dad and the other gentleman quickly diagnosed the problem. The gas gauge was broken. It was not by coincidence that the kind man who had pulled over happened to have a can of gas in his car. He filled our tank, and we were on the road once more — a motor home full of my hopeful family traveled on to explore nature in Yosemite. My heart was flooded with warmth, and I knew God had heard my simple prayer and answered immediately.
I am reminded of the words to this sweet song, A Child’s Prayer:
Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.
(View a mash-up of this song here:)
I am grateful I learned at an early age that God does exist, and He does hear every prayer. Sometimes answers are immediate, like my child’s prayer while we were stranded in the middle of the desert. Others require much contemplation and effort on our part. Some answers don’t come, and we continue on in faith. Maybe we are praying for things that are not the will of God. Maybe what we think is right for us at the time will be put to rest when a better situation comes along later. What I do know is that life is better with God in it, and prayer is the method of communication that can bring us closer to our Heavenly Father and Savior. May we all find peace and guidance as we pray always.