Cora was having a bad day. The dog jumped on her with muddy paws and got her favorite shirt dirty. She accidentally hit her head with a toy. Her sister wouldn’t play the game Cora wanted to play, and Cora got in trouble with Mom for arguing with her sister.
“I’m having a bad day!” Cora said as tears filled her eyes.
“You are choosing to have a bad day,” Mom said. “You can choose to have a good day instead.”
Cora felt mad. “No, I can’t!” she cried. “I’m having a bad day!”
Mom held Cora while she cried. “Have you tried praying?” she whispered into Cora’s ear. “Maybe you should ask Heavenly Father for help.”
“I don’t want to pray,” Cora said.
“Sometimes it’s hard to feel like praying, but that is when we need to pray most of all,” Mom said. “Let’s pray together. I’ll pray first, and then you can pray.” Mom folded her arms around Cora.
Cora did not want to listen to her mom’s prayer. Everything had gone wrong, and she wanted to be mad. She was mad at the dog, the toy, and her sister. She was even mad at Mom. But something inside Cora whispered, “It’s time to pray. You need to listen.”
Reluctantly, Cora bowed her head and closed her eyes. As Mom prayed, Cora felt her anger fading. In its place she began to feel peace and love.
But then she remembered what had happened to put her in such a bad mood. As she thought about her anger, the good feelings went away. Cora felt torn. She liked the sweet feeling of peace she had started to feel, but she was still mad and wanted to stay mad. Which should she choose?
Mom ended the prayer and said, “OK, now it’s your turn, Cora.”
Cora folded her arms and bowed her head. All the while, her anger fought to stay in her mind. She wondered about the good feelings she had felt during her mother’s prayer—were those from Heavenly Father? Could He really make her feel better? With those questions in her head, she began to pray. She told Heavenly Father that she was having a bad day and that she was mad. She told Him everything that had happened and asked if He would help her feel better.
At that moment, she knew what she needed to ask for. She told Heavenly Father that she did not want to be angry anymore and asked Him if He would take the angry feelings away.
As Cora prayed, she felt the peace and love return. This time she wanted those feelings to stay. She thought about the things that she had been angry about, and they didn’t seem to matter anymore. In fact, she couldn’t remember why she had gotten so angry in the first place. Cora finished her prayer and looked at Mom.
“Mommy, I feel better now! Heavenly Father answered my prayer!”
Cora’s mom hugged her tight. “Sweetie, I am so happy for you. And I know Heavenly Father is pleased with you for praying.”
“Heavenly Father must love us a lot if He wants to help us be happy,” Cora said.
“Yes, He does, Cora. He loves us very much.”
“Mommy, can I go now? I want to play with my sister again,” Cora said. She was ready to have a good day.
“Others don’t make us angry. There is no force involved. Becoming angry is a … choice, a decision; therefore, we can make the choice not to become angry. We choose!” 3
Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy
Illustrations by Julie F. Young