Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Phone Home

I cannot remember the last time I saw the movie “E.T.” and truth be told, the last reference to this movie was probably during a visit to the  Universal Studios theme park in California during High School when I went on the ride where you sit on a moving set of bicycles and travel with E.T. to/from his dying planet in an effort to save it. They had a set up where riders gave their names and at the end of the ride, E.T. is standing there calling out “thank yous” to each rider by name. It was a fun ride and it is nostalgic to remember that ride that is no longer with us. 

For me, the most memorable moment from the movie was the flying bike scene. Who can forget how E.T. pulls out his glowing finger and causes the bikes to fly! The most iconic phrase that came from this movie that I remember was “E.T. phone home.” Elliot, the little boy who found E.T., teaches him to speak a little bit and is able to determine that E.T. is trying to call home. That is guidance that continues to hold true for us today. We all need to “phone home.”

I don’t remember why E.T. wanted to “phone home,” but the fact that he wanted to highlights a desire we all can seek for, namely to call upon our Heavenly Father and share with Him whatever is on our mind. I love singing both “A Child’s Prayer” and “I Pray in Faith” with my daughter. These songs are great illustrations of how we can “phone home” to Heavenly Father and speak with Him. Here are the lyrics to “I Pray in Faith:”

“I kneel to pray ev’ry day.

I speak to Heav’nly Father.

He hears and answers me

When I pray in faith.

I begin by saying ‘Dear Heavenly Father’;

I thank him for blessings he sends;

Then humbly I ask him for things that I need,

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

I love the simplicity of the prayer structure that is outlined in the second verse. I am grateful that we can call upon Him and speak with Him about whatever is on our mind. E.T. may have referenced using a phone to call home, but we are fortunate in that we do not need a phone to call upon Heavenly Father. Another Hymn, “Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire” reminds us that prayer can be “uttered or unexpressed.”

 I loved President Jeffrey R. Holland’s April 2024 general conference talk titled, “Motions of a Hidden Fire.” President Holland recalled the prayers on his and his wife’s behalf and made it clear that even though the outcomes for him and his wife were different (President Holland being restored to life while Sister Holland passed away) prayers are always heard and answered:

“Brothers and sisters, I testify that God hears every prayer we offer and responds to each of them according to the path He has outlined for our perfection. I recognize that at roughly the same time so many were praying for the restoration of my health, an equal number—including me—were praying for the restoration of my wife’s health. I testify that both of those prayers were heard and answered by a divinely compassionate Heavenly Father, even if the prayers for Pat were not answered the way I asked. It is for reasons known only to God why prayers are answered differently than we hope—but I promise you they are heard and they are answered according to His unfailing love and cosmic timetable.”

My prayer today is that the next time we think about E.T. we will be reminded of the invitation to “phone home” and speak with our Heavenly Father. He wants to hear from us and will always answer our call.

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