There is a beautiful children’s hymn for young Mormons called, “A Child’s Prayer.” The song is written for an adult and child to sing together. In the song, a child asks God if he’s really there, and if he’s really listening to and answering the prayers of children. The child notes that many people feel Heaven is too far off, but when he prays, he feels heaven is very close by. With that, the child remembers that Jesus Christ said to bring the children to Him, referring to the story in which the disciples tried to send away a group of children who came to see the Savior late in the day. The Savior stopped them and invited the children to come to Him to be blessed and to talk with Him. Reassured, the child in the song goes to Heavenly Father in prayer.
This is followed by an adult verse. The adult shares his testimony of God with the child, reassuring him God is listening, because the child is God’s own child, and is loved. The adult encourages the child to pray and promises he will be heard.r both adults and children. Sometimes it can be hard to keep our faith strong when times are hard.
When we left God’s presence, He created a way for us to stay in touch with Him through prayer. Prayer allows us to talk to God, but it isn’t a one-way communication. He also arranged for us to be able to “hear” his answers to us. The answers aren’t really a voice, most of the time. Usually, it’s more of a feeling, an impression in our minds, or a strong feeling of good or bad in our hearts. This comes to us through the Spirit of Christ or through the Holy Ghost.
Each person has the Spirit of Christ available to Him. We can also receive visits from the Holy Ghost, which is the only source of truth. Once we’re baptized, we can receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost from a priesthood holder with the proper authority. This gift can be with us around the clock if we live worthily.
However, it takes practice to learn to recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. I first felt it when I was ten years old and was listening to a missionary at a Mormon temple visitor’s center talk about the Book of Mormon. I was not Mormon and didn’t attend church regularly, so I had no idea what I was experiencing. Over the next several years, I felt the same feeling, and gradually began to notice it always occurred in religious settings, and most often in situations where Mormons were involved. When I began to visit the local Mormon church, a friend explained to me this was the Holy Ghost.
Even then, it took time to recognize it as an answer to specific prayers. I learned to first study out the issue in my mind, and then to ask God if I had made the right choice. When I’d done my share of the process, God always did His. I learned to recognize the warm, peaceful feelings as being signs of confirmation or approval from God, and the confused, uneasy feelings as God’s way of warning me I was on the wrong track, and needed to think it through more carefully.
Every talent requires practice. No one expects to pick up a paint brush for the first time and paint a masterpiece. The same is true of prayer. If we want to recognize God’s “voice” in our lives, we need to train and to practice. When we live the way God teaches us to live, study the scriptures, and spend time praying, we are training. When we resist the temptation to pray and then leap up and run off without waiting for an answer, we’re improving our ability to receive the answer. When we trust the answers we receive and act on them, we demonstrate our faith in God. The stronger our faith, the better able we are to recognize His presence and understand how He guides us from day to day. As the song says,”Pray. He is there. Speak-He is listening.”
Listen to A Child’s Prayer.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.