One day when I was in the first grade, I started to feel sick. I remember limping as I walked home from Primary. Before long, my head began to ache terribly and my throat hurt, as well.
At first, the doctor thought that I had strep throat, but even though I took medicine, I continued to get worse. Finally my parents took me to another doctor. He told them that I needed to go to the hospital in Salt Lake City right away.
I was frightened. I thought that I might have polio. Everyone knew about polio in those days. Many people died from it. Other people were crippled for life. Every parent and child feared it.
We arrived at the hospital in the middle of the night. A nurse met us at the door and whisked me away from my parents. She took me into a room where they did a lot of medical procedures; some of them were very painful. Finally they put me into a large crib in an isolation ward. I did have polio, and nobody, not even my parents, was allowed to see me. I was all alone and very frightened.
The only thing I had to rely on was my faith in Heavenly Father. I remember kneeling in that crib and praying to Him, asking for healing and comfort. My parents had taught me at a young age to pray, and I knew that He would hear me. I also thought often of the priesthood blessing my father and my grandfather had given me before leaving home. I knew that my family would be praying for me every morning and every night, and that gave me comfort and peace as well.
I was in the hospital for two very long weeks and had months of therapy, but I was healed. To this day, I think back on that time and feel strong gratitude and love for Heavenly Father, who I know blessed me.
Another time when I learned the importance of prayer was when I was preparing for my first piano recital. I was about seven years old, and I was very nervous. I was afraid I would forget the piece, and I was also worried that my hands would shake so badly that I couldn’t play.
My mother knew I was scared, and she suggested that before I go on stage to play, I bow my head and ask Heavenly Father to help me feel calm and remember what I had practiced. I followed Mother’s advice, taking a moment to pray right before I performed.
He answered my prayers, and I learned that Heavenly Father could help me at all times in my life, even during piano recitals! I started to realize that He could help me in school. I prayed and asked Him to help me study and learn and take tests.
A few years later, when I was ten, my family visited the Hill Cumorah and the Sacred Grove. I remember standing on the Hill Cumorah and listening to Daddy explaining exactly what happened there. Then we went to the Sacred Grove, and Daddy told us about Joseph Smith praying to Heavenly Father for the truth. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to young Joseph, blessing him with the answer to his prayer. I knew that if Joseph could get answers, so could I.
Throughout my life, I have talked to Heavenly Father regularly through prayer. I am very grateful to my parents for teaching me that Heavenly Father lives and that He always listens to us. He listens to me, and He listens to you. I know that He will always be there for you.