"I'd like to share an experience I had with prayer. We live over by the Aquatic Center, and behind the aquatic center is a park, and behind the park is a field. I sometimes like to go over to the field to look around. One day I took one of my toys out there to play with. I set it down and went to do something else, but when I came back to where I thought I left it, it wasn't there. I had misplaced it. I thought about saying a prayer, but before I did that, I thought I should probably go up high on the hill and see if I could see it. When I still couldn't find it, I said a prayer, and after the prayer I still couldn't find it. I came home a little disappointed, but I was okay. You know, I wasn't that upset about it.
I asked my parents about how prayer works. They told me that sometimes Jesus (Heavenly Father) can answer your prayers in different ways. Like, I didn't find my toy, but maybe instead I learned that I should be more careful with my things. And then I thought that I could be more careful with spiritual things. Like, the Priesthood, the Holy Ghost, and other spiritual things. I want to be careful with those things so that I don't lose those important things."
I distinctly remember Yaks coming home, unable to find his Beyblade (a Christmas gift from our friends, the Campbells) when he took it with him to the park to explore. He'd searched and searched the field and the park, and prayed for help in finding it. He questioned both Josh and me on separate occasions (he often does ask us each separately, and I'm sure we give different perspectives and counsel him in different ways - I'm so grateful for that ) about prayer. Josh remembered finding Yaks crying in his room, but that he wasn't crying about losing a toy, he was crying because he felt his prayer wasn't answered. I remember being concerned for his tender testimony. Here was this sweet, faith-filled boy, who prayed to find a small toy. We had been studying as a family about faith, prayer, and the Holy Ghost as a family, preparing him for baptism. We'd read and heard countless children bearing testimonies about answered prayers of finding toys, and I could tell he was feeling hurt that Heavenly Father hadn't helped him. I didn't want him to lose faith that Heavenly Father loves him and hears him when he prays!
I thought about it for several days, and it weighed on my mind. I prayed with my whole mother-heart to know what to do, or what to say to my sweet boy about this experience. I believe Heavenly Father BOTH hears AND answers prayers! Perhaps not in the way we want (a 'no'), or the timing we wish (a 'not right now'), but He always answers us. I believe that, and I felt so strongly I had to let him know that.
After a few days I sat with him in his room and brought up his lost toy, and my feelings about prayer. I asked him to think of something good that could come from NOT ever finding the toy. He came up with learning a lesson to be more careful with his things, and he even thought of a scenario that another child may have found it, and maybe he didn't have any Beyblades, and finding one made him really happy!
Imagine our surprise when MONTHS later, Yaks would still remember this experience, and he would be taught a deeper lesson through The Spirit about losing that toy. Neither Josh nor I taught him that lesson or even planted that idea. The Spirit taught him that lesson, and Heavenly Father answered his prayer. Not only did he learn a lesson, but then that sweet boy was brave enough to stand in front of hundreds of people and eloquently (SO eloquently) share it in a testimony. Josh and I were both in tears as he closed his testimony and sat down. It was a testimony to me that these children are the strong, elect spirits, saved for the last. They are different. They are each so special and unique! What a humbling honor it is to help raise them, and thank goodness we aren't raising them alone! Heavenly Father is mindful of them, and loves and knows them more deeply and completely than we are able! I am grateful today I had the opportunity to sit back in awe and be taught by my son. It's an experience I'll never forget.