Have you ever felt lonely and left out - as if you're the only one without a friend? That's how I felt that morning. I was in ninth grade at a new school, and everybody else had known each other since kindergarten. But no one knew me.
Weeks went by, and nobody but teachers said anything but "Hi" to me. And that morning, I felt so bad about it that I had to put my face down on my desk to hide my tears.
That was the morning I decided to pray.
I didn't really know how to pray. I felt so alone and so different from everyone else. And I was angry, too. I had even thought about doing things just to get attention, or doing things that I knew were wrong. I wasn't sure I was good enough to pray, but somehow I found myself thinking these words: "God, what does it take to have a friend in this school? Whatever it takes, I'll do it!"
Suddenly, I thought about my mother, who was the friendliest person I'd ever known. People just loved being around her. Why? Because she loved them. She didn't worry about whether people liked her. She just loved everybody.
Having this thought was like seeing the sun come up after a long night. The answer to my problem was not to get someone to notice me, but for me to learn to appreciate others.
At that very moment the gloomy feeling went away - as if I'd dropped a backpack full of heavy books off my shoulders.
I wasn't angry anymore. I was really happy. I started smiling at the people around me. The last year I was at that school, my classmates even voted me the best-liked girl in our class!
But that wasn't the answer to my prayer. The answer was the idea that came that morning - that I could feel loved just by loving other people.
It's OK to want friends - having friends is normal. It's not selfish. What's selfish is when you don't think about how other people feel, or you try to get what you want however you can, even if it hurts somebody.
The idea that came to me when I prayed that morning showed me that anyone can pray - anytime, anywhere. Since that morning, I've always known what to do if I'm feeling left out or unloved. That's when I remember to get busy and show more love to someone else. If I feel unappreciated, I ask myself if I'm noticing how truly great others are. If I don't feel happy, I can still remember that God gives me happiness, and nothing can take away what God gives. So, what I do is just try to use my happiness more - to make it more a part of my day.
I learned three really good things from that prayer years ago:
(1) It's OK to want something good. You can trust God to "polish" your desire for something so that it leads you upward and shows you how to be unselfish.
(2) Prayer doesn't always need words. Your heart knows what to say to God, and you know when He answers.
(3) When God's answer comes, it will bring out something good in you.
You're always good enough to pray. No matter who you are, God speaks to you in a way you can understand. And a message from God won't let you down. God loves you all the time, no matter what. You can always be a friend - and have a friend.