He Hears

So what if we didn’t understand the prayer? Travis was talking to someone who did.

We bowed our heads as Travis said the closing prayer in our Sunday School class.

I had only lived in the ward for a few months, so I did not know much about Travis. I eventually became aware of his slurred speech and slightly awkward walk. From what I understood, he had been hit by a car when he was a small child. As a result, he had suffered some permanent brain damage.

From my first day in the ward, Travis had always been kind to me. He was happy, outgoing, and sincere. He never hesitated to strike up a conversation with me. Because his speech was sometimes slurred, I found it difficult to understand him at first. But gradually I became a better listener, and conversation became easier. However, every once in a while, Travis’s speech was nearly impossible to understand.

This was the case one day as he began to say the prayer. His words were garbled and incomprehensible. I felt a giggle swell up inside me. I sensed a chorus of laughter about to erupt from my classmates. It seemed hilarious that we couldn’t understand the prayer.

But the inclination to laugh suddenly ceased. Instead I felt tears pushing on my closed eyelids. I still could not understand Travis’s prayer, but I realized Heavenly Father did. Heavenly Father heard each word with perfect clarity. Travis knew this. He knew Heavenly Father understood his prayer. Travis prayed with sincerity and, I believe, a knowledge that he was in communication with God. Then I knew I could not understand Travis’s prayer with my ears, but I could with my heart.

[illustration] Illustrated by Patric Gerber