David’s heart thumped loudly in his chest, and he sat straight up in bed. Faint moonlight streamed through the bedroom window, leaving gray shadows on the walls. The only sound came from his brother Thomas’s heavy breathing as he lay asleep.
It had been only a dream. Two Indians had come into the yard. When David saw them, he ran to the house for protection. One of them drew an arrow from his quiver and shot at David, hitting him in the back. Then they entered his home, sneering at his mother and frightening her.
Although it had been a dream, it seemed real. David rubbed his back where the arrow had hit him in the dream. He had felt the blow.
After that David became very afraid at night. Thoughts of people trying to hurt his mother and younger brothers and sisters seemed real to him.
One day David found his father packing a satchel. “Why are you packing, Papa?” David asked.
“I’ll be gone with the cattle for a few days,” his father answered. “Don’t worry. It won’t be long. I’ll just be moving them to some fresh pasture.”
“I don’t want you to go,” David said.
“Everything will be all right,” his father replied. “I’ll be back in a few days.”
David watched sadly as his father took his satchel to the front gate where his horse was tied. After waving good-bye to the family, he rode off after the cattle. David felt sick inside. He tried not to worry, hoping everything would be all right like his father had said. But as evening drew near and the sun went down, his worries grew.
After supper the family prepared for bed. When they had all knelt down at their bedsides and said their prayers, they snuggled under the covers to go to sleep. But David couldn’t sleep. His heart pounded, and his mind raced. Through the open doorway of his bedroom, he could see his mother going to her bedroom.
At last his mother blew out the candle and went to sleep. But David still couldn’t close his eyes. He thought he heard noises around the house. His brother Thomas slept soundly, but the fear in David’s heart grew. What could he do? Tears trickled onto his pillow. The palms of his hands were sweaty, and he could still hear the noises around the house.
David decided to pray as his parents had taught him. He was sure the Lord would help him, but he had one problem: kneeling by the side of his bed. How could he leave the safety of his bed to kneel and pray? What if someone was hiding beneath his bed?
David knew that the only way he would be able to sleep was if he prayed to the Lord for help. At last he slowly climbed out of bed onto his knees. He asked the Lord to protect his mother and his family. All the noises died away, and a calm feeling entered David’s heart. A voice spoke clearly to him, saying, “Don’t be afraid. Nothing will hurt you.” David felt the sweet assurance that he would be safe in bed at night.
Snuggling under his covers, David fell asleep. He didn’t worry at night anymore. Even though it had been a difficult test for him to get out of bed and kneel to pray, he had prayed the way he knew he should. And the Lord answered his prayer.
“The Lord is not just an absent, faraway source. He is a kind father, solicitous of the welfare of his children and ready and willing to hear and answer their call.”
President David O. McKay (1873–1970), in Conference Report, Oct. 1952, 129.