“Time for family prayer,” Dad called.
I quickly finished brushing my teeth. As I hurried down the hallway, I almost fell over a ball of orange fur that dashed between my legs.
“Mac!” I yelled, startled. “Why do you always do that?”
But Macaroni, our big tabby cat, ignored my protests and hurried on to my parents’ bedroom.
Mom laughed. “Mac beat you again.”
“Mac the prayer cat,” murmured my little sister as she scratched behind his ears. “He never misses family prayer.”
“Why do you think he likes family prayer so much?” Dad asked.
“Because he knows he’ll get his ears scratched?” I suggested.
“I think he can feel the love in the room,” Mom replied seriously.
My brother giggled. “Sometimes Mac rubs his head on my bare feet when I’m kneeling, and it tickles.”
“Should we keep him out of the room when we pray?” Dad said. “Is he too distracting?”
“No!” we all said together.
“This is family prayer and he’s a part of our family,” I pointed out. “He’s welcome to come, even if he does almost trip me every night.”
We later learned that Mac was a prayer cat in more ways than one. I discovered this one afternoon when I couldn’t find my list of spelling words. I needed it to study for a big test the next day, but it wasn’t in my backpack or with my schoolbooks. I was frantic. I came out from looking under my bed and saw Mac watching me.
“What do you want?” I said irritably. “It’s not time for family prayer. Go away, you silly cat.”
Mac just sat staring at me. As I looked at him, I remembered that I hadn’t prayed.
“Well, maybe you’re right,” I admitted. “This is probably the perfect time for a prayer.”
I knelt by my bed and asked Heavenly Father to help me find my spelling list. When I finished, I felt Mac brushing his head against my arm. I sat down and scratched behind his ears. Then I remembered! On the way home from school I had taken my list out to practice the spelling words with my friend. Quickly I felt in my coat pocket and found the list.
“Thanks, Mac,” I said. “Thanks for reminding me that any time is a good time for prayer.” Then I knelt again and thanked Heavenly Father for helping me.
A few weeks later, Mac suddenly went missing. He didn’t come back the next day, or the next. We were terribly worried, but we knew just what to do. Dad and my brother put up posters and talked to the neighbors. Mom notified the animal shelter. And all of us prayed.
After three days, Mac came home. He was thin and dirty, but safe. We were all grateful.
That night, when family prayer was called, I was happy to stand aside and let Mac precede me down the hall to the bedroom.
“Mac the prayer cat,” my sister said, scratching his head. “At night he reminds us to have family prayer.”
“And during the day he reminds us to pray anytime we need help,” I added.
“Even when he’s gone he reminds us to pray for him to come back,” my brother said.
“And now that he’s back,” Mom said, “he reminds us that prayers are heard and answered.”
“Can you tell how glad we are to have you in our family, Mac?” Dad asked.
In answer, Mac curled up in the middle of our family circle and purred.
“Pray humbly and frequently.”
“Sweet Power of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2003, 7.
Illustrations by Mark Robison