I remember my very first answer to prayer.
I was in the first grade and I lost a reading book that my teacher let me take home. The book was due back, but it was no where to be found. I looked and looked. Mrs. Johnson kept bugging me to return the book. I so wanted to please my teacher and felt terrible that I had let my teacher down.
So I prayed and prayed to find the book.
But I couldn’t find it.
Mrs. Johnson was getting more and more concerned about the whereabouts of her book. And I was getting more and more concerned that I was disappointing my beautiful teacher.
So I prayed and prayed again.
I still couldn’t find the book.
Then one day my uncle (who was living with us at the time) came into my bedroom with a big smile on his face. He said, “Tiffany, you will never guess what I found!” It was the book! He explained that he had dropped his pen behind his dresser and when he pulled out the dresser to get the pen, there was my book.
I was so happy. I ran to my mom and told her the whole story. She mentioned that Heavenly Father answered my prayer and then we wrapped the book in gift paper and a bow and I took it to my teacher.
Mrs. Johnson opened her “present” and my first grade heart felt much better.
I didn’t consider my uncle dropping his pen as an answer to my prayer until my mom told me so.
She taught me in that moment that God heard my prayer and answered it. If my mom had not pointed out this significant truth, I might have chalked up my uncle dropping his pen behind a dresser to coincidence.
I may have had several prayers answered prior to this experience, but this is the one where my mom pointed it out to me, so this is the experience I remember. 30 plus years later I still remember finding the book as my first answer to prayer.
This experience is so engrained in my mind that I am aware of this with my own children. And I was able to tell Croft her prayer was answered last month.
She was in first grade too, and she had a big play coming up — a play that she had been practicing hard for for months. She had invited all her aunts and uncles and grandparents. She had even asked some friends if they wanted to come see her play. She knew her lines well and was so excited.
The day before the play, Croft woke up sick. She threw up probably 10 times over the course of the day. She couldn’t keep anything down. She laid on the couch lethargic and in and out of sleep.
We prayed together several times over the course of the day asking Heavenly Father to help her to stop throwing up and to feel well enough to perform.
Chad was out of town so that night we called our home teachers (2 guys in our church asked to watch over our specific family) and asked them if they could give Croft a priesthood blessing. Since this play was a once a year event and I knew how much it meant to Croft, I wanted to call in the powers of heaven.
Our home teacher gave her a blessing and blessed Croft to be able to make it to her play.
She did not throw up once after the blessing and made it all night barf free. She woke up the next morning still weak and tired but wanted to get up and go to the play. She got dressed, ate a little breakfast, and made it to the car. I watched her in the rear view mirror as we drove to the auditorium.
I was nervous the whole time, wondering how she would do? Would she throw up back stage? Would she pass out while performing? Was she strong enough to go on?
Long story short, she danced, sang and acted her heart out. She jumped around, smiled and did great!
Right after she came off stage, I hugged her and said, “Heavenly Father answered our prayers! You did it!”
Croft replied, “No, He didn’t. I still feel sick.”
I explained to her that we didn’t ask Heavenly Father for her to feel perfect. We asked that she would be “able to perform” “stop throwing up” or “make it to the play”. He indeed answered our prayers.
It was interesting to me that she did not see the experience as an answer to prayer and it took some teaching and explaining before she understood.
But in the end I hope she recognizes and remembers her first big answer to prayer.
I hope she remembers because her mom told her so.
I try to point out to my children when prayers are answered, when the Spirit is present, when truth is taught, and when God’s hand is in our life because they might not be able to recognize these moments as first. They might see them as luck or coincidence. They might take them for granted or think they are just standards in everyone’s life. They might not understand or recognize the feelings they are having.
But they will be more likely to remember and understand if their mom told them so.