One sunny day last week, during his younger brother’s nap, Max decided to go outside to play.
It had rained all through the night and morning, but now the sun was out and my 5 year old wanted to ride his bike around the backyard. I stayed indoors, keeping an eye and ear on two slumbering brothers. I sat for a moment, reading the first few lines of a book when I heard a loud and drawn out, “MOOOOOOOMMMMM!”
It didn’t seem urgent so I called back, “what’s up buddy?”
“YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!”
“Okay, one moment,” I responded trying to finish reading a paragraph.
“NO, you need to see this NOW.”
I reluctantly got up and sauntered to the back door, which Max was opening, to reveal an ants nest that had taken residence inside his helmet.
They were now all over his head as well.
“It itches!” He said through gritted teeth.
Frankly, I was more surprised he wasn’t screaming but got him into the shower and I plunged his helmet into a bowl of hot water and watched as thousands of ants met their doom.
After the ant fiasco calmed down a bit, we snuggled up on the couch together to read. After a few moments, I looked around for our dog Penny, realizing I hadn’t felt her clumsy presence for awhile.
We got Penny from the Humane Society back in September and she is a loving, bumbling, happy dog. She is extremely obedient, fairly unintelligent and sheds like no other, but we love her, especially the boys. They run and chase her in the house and backyard and Danny bosses her around and she dutifully goes where he bellows.
She prefers to be right in the thick of our family life and so when I didn’t feel her beneath my feet on the couch, I got up to go look for her. I wandered to the backyard because she loves it out there and thought that perhaps she had been let outside at some point.
We quickly realized that not only had she been let out into the backyard, but she had escaped through the open garage door. It had been an hour since the ant incident when she most likely slipped through the back door and out to freedom. In the past, someone usually calls my husband’s number on her dog tag but we had heard nothing from him.
I sent him a message to make him aware of her escape and how long she had been gone,but he had nothing to report back. This was when Max started to worry. I suggested we say a prayer which he agreed to only he wanted me to say it. After our prayer we waited and put Penny’s blanket on the porch for her to smell from far away (a tip from her microchip company which we had called as well). Nothing.
I sensed from the Holy Ghost that this would be a great moment to teach Max about the power of prayer and the reality of his Heavenly Father. I explained,
“Max, I think we need to say another prayer, but I think this time you need to say it. I know that Heavenly Father especially loves to answer the prayers of young children. He wants you to know He is real and is eager to show you, but you have to believe that He will help you. Do you want to say another prayer?”
Max looked at me and nodded. He then uttered a sweet and sincere child’s prayer. He asked for his dog to be safe and for a nice person to call us to tell us where she was. After the prayer, his brother’s both woke up and I felt like we should drive around to look for her. So we drove, with Max leading the way. After thirty minutes, I finally got the call from my husband that someone had Penny and where to pick her up. Max smiled and I told him, “Heavenly Father answered our prayer!”
His smiled widened and his eyes lit up with realization.
We picked up Penny from a kind neighbor one street over and I called my husband to tell him all the details about the experience and about how happy Max had been.
Then he informed us that he had actually gotten the call about thirty minutes prior but couldn’t message us quite yet because he was with a patient. He let the call go to voicemail and called us when he had a moment.
My heart warmed as I realized what he was saying; he had gotten the call only a few minutes after Max’s prayer, not the thirty minutes we had thought.
If I thought Max was beaming earlier, when I shared this new information with him, his smile went through the roof. It was pure and uncontrolled and I felt the Spirit whisper so strongly within my heart that Heavenly Father was aware of my child.
He was eager to show him that He is real and He cares.
Not only does He care about my five-year-old boy, but He cares about me too. He is here to help me teach and guide my sons. He is eager for me to know He is really there.
Prayer’s aren’t always answered immediately, but I know Heavenly Father answers prayers and wants to.
” ‘It is true that the answers to our prayers may not always come as direct and at the time, nor in the manner, we anticipate; but they do come, and at a time and in a manner best for the interests of him who offers the supplication.’“-President David. O McKay
I believe Heavenly Father knew it was in my son’s best interest for his prayer to be answered quickly. For my son to know that Heavenly Father is much closer and much more aware than we often realize. However, as we grow older, patience plays a much bigger role in the answers to our prayers as we learn to lean upon Him, offering up prayer and reflection over the course of days, months, and even years.
But He always hears us, He is always aware, and He is always eager to answer.