Version 1 (Original):
Nathan had a problem. He had been taught that Heavenly Father answers prayers, but he didn’t know if it was true.
He asked his mom, “Mom, is Heavenly Father really there?” She said, “Of course, sweetheart. And he loves you very much.” Nathan thought about what his mom had said, but he still didn’t know. So he went off to play.
The next day Nathan still had questions. So he asked his dad, “Dad, does Heavenly Father really hear us when we pray?” His dad ruffled his hair. “He does, son. Just like when you call me, he hears you.” Nathan wondered at his dad’s words. How could Heavenly Father hear him when he was so far away? But he didn’t know. So he went to the park with his friends.
The next day, Nathan couldn’t stop thinking about his question. So he asked his big sister, “Jocelyn, does Heavenly Father answer prayers?” Jocelyn smiled at Nathan. “He does, but sometimes not the way you think.”
Nathan thought about what she said. He thought long and hard. And he decided to try.
That night after Nathan had been tucked into bed, he slid to the floor. He knelt like he’d seen his family do for family prayer each night. He folded his arms and bowed his head like he’d been taught in primary. Then he closed his eyes.
“Heavenly Father, are you there?” Nathan asked aloud. He waited for an answer. Pretty soon, though, he began to feel very tired. He got back into bed, disappointed that Heavenly Father hadn’t answered him.
The next day was Sunday. Nathan’s family got ready to go to church. Nathan was still thinking about his experiment the night before.
He was thinking so hard he didn’t even hear the talks in Sacrament meeting. He was so quiet during primary class that his teacher asked if he was feeling all right. Nathan shrugged.
In sharing time, the music leader had them sing “A Child’s Prayer.” As Nathan sang, he listened to the words. He realized that the song asked the same questions he’d had. Then he listened to the second verse.
He wondered if he should try to pray again, like the song said. Maybe he would be heard this time.
When Nathan got home from church, he went to his room and closed the door so no one would bother him. Without changing out of his church clothes, Nathan knelt beside his bed.
He folded his arms and bowed his head. He hoped that this time, Heavenly Father would answer him. “Heavenly Father, are you there?” Nathan asked again. He really wanted an answer. Even though he didn’t get one right away, he stayed quiet. He didn’t let himself be distracted by his toys.
A few minutes later, Nathan felt something. It felt like a hug from his dad. And he knew that it was his Heavenly Father. Nathan also knew that everything his family had said before was true. Heavenly Father was there. And He had heard and answered Nathan’s prayer.
Version 2 (New and Improved):
A Child’s Prayer
1. “Good night, Mom. Good night, Dad,” Nathan said.
2. “Good night, sweetheart. And don’t forget to pray,” Nathan’s mom answered, kissing him on the forehead. Nathan nodded.
3. “Good night, sport,” Nathan’s dad said, giving Nathan a warm hug. His parents smiled and left the room.
3. Nathan slid off his bed and knelt beside it. He folded his arms and bowed his head, and said a brief prayer. Nathan used the same words he always did.
4. After Nathan said “amen,” he got into bed. As he tried to sleep, he found himself thinking, Why do I pray? Is anyone even there listening to me?
5. Nathan was still thinking about his question the next morning. He decided to ask his mom.
6. “Mom, is Heavenly Father really there?” Nathan asked while eating breakfast. Nathan’s Mom smiled. “Of course, sweetheart. And He loves you very much.”
7. Nathan nodded, but he still wondered. So he decided to ask his dad. “Dad, does Heavenly Father really hear us when we pray?” Nathan asked while his dad tied Nathan’s bow tie.
8. “He does, son,” Nathan’s dad answered, ruffling Nathan’s hair. “Just like when you talk to me, he hears you.” Nathan nodded, but he still wasn’t sure. How could Heavenly Father hear him when he was so far away?
9. All the way to church, Nathan thought about praying and why it mattered. He was so quiet that his parents and sister wondered if he was okay.
10. Nathan was distracted during Sacrament meeting. Finally he leaned over to ask his older sister. “Jocelyn, does Heavenly Father answer prayers?” Nathan asked.
11. “He does, but sometimes not the way you think,” Jocelyn answered in a whisper, smiling at Nathan. Then Nathan’s mom leaned over to them.
12. “Shh. It’s time to be reverent so you can hear the speaker. You won’t hear them if you’re talking,” Nathan’s mom said quietly.
13. Nathan was quiet, all through the rest of Sacrament meeting. He was so quiet during primary class that his teacher asked if he was feeling all right.
14. Nathan just shrugged. He was too busy trying to find the answer to his question.
15. In sharing time, the music leader had them sing “A Child’s Prayer,” the song they were preparing for the Primary Program. Nathan had never really listened before. He preferred to talk to his friends.
16. This time, though, Nathan listened to the words as he sang. He realized the child in the song had all the same questions he had! Then he listened to the second verse, and he wanted to try to pray like it said.
17. On the way home from church, Nathan was excited to try his experiment. He went straight to his room and didn’t even change out of his church clothes.
18. Nathan closed his door so no one would bother him. Then he knelt beside his bed. He hoped he would feel something different this time.
19. Nathan folded his arms and bowed his head, like he’d seen his family do for family prayer each night. Then he closed his eyes.
20. “Heavenly Father, are you there? Can you hear me?” Nathan asked aloud. He didn’t feel anything right away, so he waited.
21. (Illustrator’s note: Nathan kneeling reverently beside his bed, listening attentively)
22. (Illustrator’s note: Nathan starts to fidget and gets distracted. Maybe he’s peeking out from under his eyelids, or he spots a toy. Could spread over a few pages, with varying degrees of distraction on each page)
23. (Illustrator’s note: Nathan remembers to be reverent, and goes back to being still and quiet)
24. Nathan got a warm feeling. It felt like the hug his dad gave him every night before bed. And he knew:
24. Heavenly Father heard him. (Illustrator’s note: Nathan smiling at a picture of Jesus on the wall; same page as previous dialogue)