A while ago, my parents went away for a few days and I stayed with my grandmother. When it was time for bed, she said: “Megan, come say your bedtime prayer.”
“I don’t know how,” I said.
“It’s easy,” she explained. “You start out by calling upon Heavenly Father. Then you thank Him for your blessings. After that you can ask Him for whatever you need. It’s also important to ask Him to help other people. Then you end your prayer by saying ‘in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.’ ”
“That doesn’t sound so hard.”
“It isn’t,” she replied. “Let’s try it.”
Every night after that, I said my prayers and my grandmother helped me. The last night I was with her, she sat down on the bed beside me and put her arm around my shoulders. Her eyes were kind, and her voice sounded quiet and serious.
“Megan,” she said, “I want you to remember that your Heavenly Father loves you and that He is always near. Don’t forget to talk to Him. Since I’ve joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know that it’s very important to stay close to Heavenly Father and Jesus. You will be much happier and have a more peaceful life. I know that your parents aren’t interested in the Church at this time, but maybe someday they will be.”
After I went home, I tried really hard to do what my grandmother said. Sometimes I couldn’t think of very much to say when I prayed, and sometimes I was awfully tired. After a while I started to forget, and many days would go by before I realized I hadn’t said my prayers. When I was away from my grandmother, it didn’t seem so important anymore.
Then something happened that made me remember what my grandmother had told me. Mom and Dad and I were traveling to visit my uncle, who was sick in the hospital. It had been snowing for a long time, and the wind sounded like a siren. It was getting harder and harder to see because of all the blowing snow in the dark night. Mom said we should turn back. Dad said we should keep going because my uncle needed us. As we went around a corner, the car didn’t turn—it went straight into a ditch! We were fine, but the car was hopelessly buried in snow.
Dad went up to the highway. He was gone a long time, and when he came back, he looked cold and tired. “I couldn’t see a yard in front of my face,” he said.
“Did any cars go by?” asked Mom.
“A few, but they didn’t seem to see me. They just kept going.”
“If we start the car,” said Mom, “at least we could keep warm.”
“We need to get the car up on the road first,” said Dad. “There’s too much snow packed around it. I’m going back up to the road to see if I can get help.”
By then the wind sounded like a person who was screaming for help. My feet throbbed with cold, and I was shivering hard. I felt afraid, more afraid than I had ever felt in my whole life. I started to cry.
“It’s all right, Megan,” Mother said, squeezing my hand. “Your father will take care of us.”
When Mom said “father,” I remembered that I had another father, a Heavenly Father, and that my grandmother had said He would always be there if I needed Him.
I slid off the car seat onto the cold hard floor. I knelt down and folded my hands in front of me and closed my eyes. I thanked Heavenly Father for Mom and Dad and for my two pet mice, Sylvester and Henry, and for Gladys, my goldfish. I told Him that I needed His help, and that my grandmother had told me He would help me. I asked Him to please get us out of the ditch. I told Him that I was sorry I had forgotten to say my prayers. Then I ended my prayer the way my grandmother had taught me, in the name of Jesus Christ.
“What are you doing, Megan?” Mom asked as she peered down at me.
“I was saying a prayer,” I said.
There was a moment of silence, and I thought for sure that she would get mad, but she didn’t. I heard a small coughing sound, like she was trying to get a lump out of her throat. Then she said, “I don’t suppose a prayer will hurt.”
I didn’t feel cold anymore. I felt warm and peaceful. I climbed up into the front seat beside Mom. I sang some songs. Mom even sang a few of them with me. Quite a long time passed, but things didn’t seem so bad anymore. We were in the middle of “Jesus Loves Me” when we heard a roaring sound, and a few moments later Dad opened the car door and poked his head inside.
“Get out of the car,” he said. “A truck driver’s going to pull us out with his rig.”
“Thank goodness!” Mom exclaimed. “Someone finally saw you!”
“Well, it was kind of strange,” Dad said. “This trucker was going really slow. In fact, he was hardly moving at all. When I thanked him for stopping, he told me he did it because he kept getting this feeling that he should slow down. He said the feeling got so strong that he couldn’t ignore it, so he stopped. That’s when he saw me.”
“That is strange,” said Mom.
“Thank you, Heavenly Father,” I said out loud.
Mom looked at me. Dad looked at me. Then they both looked away without saying anything at all. As I scrambled through the snow toward the truck, I knew that tonight, and every night after this, I would remember to say my prayers.