Four-year-old Melanie stared at the white wall next to her hospital bed, trying to hold back the tears. Two big ones squeezed out onto her cheeks, anyway. She was trying hard to be brave, but hearing Susan laughing with her grandmother from the bed on the other side of the curtain was just too much. Melanie knew that no one would be coming to visit her today.
Yesterday Mommy had talked with her about the special temple session that she and Daddy had been asked to attend. “If I drive with Daddy to the temple tomorrow, I won’t be able to come and see you. The temple is just too far away. If you want, I’ll come to visit you by myself, and Daddy can drive to the temple with Brother and Sister Howard.”
Melanie knew how much Mommy loved to go to the temple. She and Daddy went to the temple every month, and Mommy always came home so calm and happy.
Besides, this was the third time Melanie had been in the hospital for surgery on her arm. She wasn’t afraid of the doctors and nurses as she had been at first. Most of the nurses had become her friends when Melanie was here before. She knew where the playroom was, and the daily routine was familiar. Best of all, soon she would be going home and would not need to have any more operations on her arm!
“I’ll be OK,” Melanie had told Mommy. “You can go to the temple with Daddy tomorrow.”
But that had been yesterday. Now it was after breakfast and past the time when Mommy and Daddy usually came to see her. Of course, Daddy always had to go to work, but Mommy usually stayed all day.
Melanie had watched her favorite show on the television this morning, but now it was over, and, oh, she was lonesome! A little sob slipped out of her mouth as two more tears slid down her cheeks.
Then Melanie remembered. She wasn’t really alone. She could pray to Heavenly Father!
The first time Melanie had been in the hospital, she had been very frightened. Mommy had stayed with her the whole first night, but the second night, Melanie had awakened and Mommy hadn’t been there. Melanie felt so little and so afraid! She had cried and cried and cried, until finally she had fallen back to sleep.
Later, Mommy had said, “I’m sorry I wasn’t here when you woke up. You were sleeping so peacefully that I decided to go and get a sandwich before I went to sleep. Why didn’t you say a prayer when you woke up frightened?”
“I couldn’t pray. I’m not supposed to get out of this big bed by myself. How can I pray when I can’t kneel by the bed?”
“Oh, sweetheart,” Mommy explained, “didn’t you know that you can pray anywhere? Of course, it’s good to kneel by your bed. But when you can’t, Heavenly Father understands. He hears your prayers very well while you’re lying here in bed. He wants you to pray. In fact, in the Book of Mormon, we are told to always have a prayer in our hearts for ourselves and for others.”*
As she remembered Mommy’s words, the lump in Melanie’s throat seemed to melt away. She bowed her head and closed her eyes.
“Heavenly Father,” she prayed, “I thank Thee for Mommy and Daddy. I thank Thee for Jesus and for the temple. Please help me to not be sad. Please bless Mommy and Daddy today. Help them to have a good day at the temple. Please help me to feel happy. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
Melanie kept her eyes closed for a few minutes while a warm, peaceful feeling spread from the top of her head clear down to her toes. It was as if Mommy was there, giving her a hug.
Susan’s laughter rang out again. Melanie was glad that Susan’s grandmother was visiting her today. Susan was usually alone all day until her mommy came after work.
Melanie glanced over at her nightstand and saw the new coloring book and crayons that her grandmother had sent her. Soon she was so busy coloring that she didn’t notice the volunteer, Mrs. O’Driscoll, until she spoke. “Would you like a cold treat today, dear?”
“Oh yes, please. Do you have a red one? Red is my favorite.”
As she licked the sweet, cool treat, Melanie knew that Heavenly Father had answered her prayer.
“You can pray and even sing without making a sound.”
President Boyd K. Packer
Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
(Ensign, November 1999, page 23.)