Click! Thud! Thud! Thud! Wham! Squeak! That was my nightly routine for getting into bed. First I clicked off the light, then took three giant steps, and whammed into bed with such force that it caused my bedsprings to squeak. As soon as I hit the bed, I pulled the covers over my head so that I’d feel as safe as an eight-year-old can.
At night a snake I called Slither lived under my bed. His head was as big as an elephant’s ear, and his body was as round as a telephone pole. Sometimes Slither was visited by Crocky Crocodile. He was all mouth and teeth, with a short, squatty body. They didn’t make much noise, and my mom said that they weren’t really real, but I just knew that they were lying under my bed, waiting to snap at me the minute I put my foot or hand over the edge of the bed. That’s why I always slept in the middle of the bed and pulled the covers over my head.
I used to say my prayers kneeling beside my bed, but that was before Slither moved in. I was sure that he’d gobble me up if I knelt beside my bed, so I started to say them while lying under my blankets.
One Sunday morning my Primary teacher gave the best lesson on prayer. She said, “Always remember to pray to your Father in Heaven and talk to Him as if He were your best friend. Tell Him about all the good things that you are grateful for, and ask Him to help you when you need help. Don’t forget to pray each morning and night. It’s best to kneel by your bed and say your prayer out loud.”
I raised my hand and asked, “Is it OK to say our prayers while lying in bed?”
“It’s better to kneel,” she explained, “because it shows that we’re humble. That’s the way Jesus did it.”
That night as I lay curled up in the middle of my bed and began saying my prayer, I didn’t feel good about it. It was as though my prayer was being smothered by my blankets.
Then the image of my Primary teacher came into mind, and I remembered what she had taught us. I knew that I had to kneel, so I knelt in bed, pulled the covers over my head, and began to pray. But I didn’t feel any better. I let the covers slip from my head as I peeked at the floor, watching for Slither and Crocky.
I knew that no matter how frightened I was, I had to kneel by my bed. Slowly I slipped over the side of the bed and knelt beside it. I closed my eyes tightly so that I couldn’t see Slither and Crocky if they came out to bite me. Then I remembered my teacher telling us to pray for the Lord’s help, so I prayed that Slither and Crocky would go away and never return.
I finished my prayer and jumped back into bed and pulled the covers over my head. Then a peaceful feeling came over me, and I didn’t feel scared anymore. I pulled the covers off my head and leaned over the side of the bed. As I looked under it, for the first time the blackness seemed to be peaceful and calm. There was nothing to be frightened of—Slither and Crocky were gone forever!