This Sunday I’m teaching my 7 year old primary class about Joseph Smiths first uttered prayer. It got me to thinking about the first time I offered my own personal prayer.
I grew up in a praying family. We had family prayer every morning and evening. We prayed at each meal..… each of us took turns offering the prayers in our family, so praying wasn’t a new thing for me. But, I’d never offered my own personal prayer, you know, the one where you kneel by your bed and pray before going to sleep.
I was probably around 7-8 years old and had never prayed personally to my Heavenly Father. I’d been taught to do this, but always felt embarrassed at the thought of doing it. Finally one night guilt got the better of me and I slunk out of bed…hoping that if I could just quietly slide out of bed, offer my prayer and quickly get back into bed no one would notice. The funny thing was, I was in the room all alone and no one would see me praying anyway – except Heavenly Father; I was convinced I could be subtle enough that I could offer my prayer and get safely back under my covers even before HE noticed.
So, here I am in the dark, I’ve successfully slid out of my bed with ‘no one noticing’ and was kneeling and saying my first personal prayer….when all of the sudden in walked my dad. Awkwardddddd! I was so embarrassed, here I was offering my first personal prayer to Heavenly Father and in walks my dad….what’s up with that? Looking back on it now, I’m sure it was for the benefit of my dad….you see, as a child, I was not the typical quiet, sweet little daughter - Nothing like my tender, peacemaking mom and 3 sisters. I’m sure my dad worried about his wild and ferocious little indian of a daughter…if I’d been a boy, it would have been okay, but 'back in the day', girls were expected to be soft, gentle, little homemakers, imitating their mothers. I on the other hand, had an independent spirit that couldn’t wait to burst out doors, run, jump, climb, and create all kinds of mischief. Tom boy was what I was referred to.
I loved being outside. I came to life when I was outside. I had my own secret hut made in the wood pile. I had all kinds of adventures in our pasture with the calves and horses. I even had a special maple tree that I could climb and pretend I was a bird. (If I believed in reincarnation, I’m sure I would have been a bird.) I could climb trees better than any of the boys and once in my special maple tree I was in a world all my own. I could see the entire valley… all the other houses and trees in my community, I could fly over to my best friend’s house, light in her tree and visit with her for hours. Or I could soar high in the clouds and just feel the freedom of being able to be who I was.
So, I’m sure Heavenly Father wanted to reassure my dad that there was nothing to worry about, because his little wild indian of a daughter was saying her personal prayers and felt a strong connection to the Divine.
Thus began my lifelong pursuit of communicating with my Father in Heaven. Until the day he died, my dad continued to worry about me because I was so independent and didn’t follow the crowd, but I imagine when things got tuff for him in connection with me, he could look back on the moment Heavenly Father gave him a glimpse of hope when he saw me saying my first personal prayer.
Do you remember the first time you prayed? Maybe you've never prayed before, if so I encourage you to do so. As you can see, I survived my first prayer and my life has become more rich and abundant because of prayer. Praying is just like talking to your best friend. Speak from the heart and you can't go wrong. I promise, HE will listen and will love hearing from you. If you'd like to learn more about my faith, please feel free to contact me.