Prayer in the Night


Prayers of the faithful shall be heard (2 Ne. 26:15).

Mom hung up the phone slowly. “Ben,” she called quietly, so as not to waken the younger children. “I need your help.”

“Sure, Mom,” Ben said, closing his book. “What is it?”

“Dad is coming home from his business trip tonight,” Mom began, “but planes have had trouble landing at the airport because of the fog. I just called there. They expect Dad’s plane to land, but the bad weather has made it late—so late that Dad will miss his ride home from the airport. It’s a dangerous night for driving, but I’ll have to go and pick him up.”

“Do you want me to baby-sit?”

“No. I’ll ask Mrs. King to come over and sit while the little ones sleep. It’s awfully late, I know, Ben, but I’d like to have you come with me to the airport. I’d appreciate your company.”

“Sure, Mom!” Ben dashed to the closet. “I’ll get my coat.” It wasn’t often that Mom even allowed Ben to stay up late.

Once in the car, Ben realized how thick the fog was. It drifted past his window like clouds of pale cotton candy. He could scarcely see the white lines marking the lanes of the freeway, let alone the signs giving directions. “I sure hope you know the way to the airport, Mom. This is like trying to look through mashed potatoes.”

“Actually,” Mom replied hesitantly, “I’ve only driven to the airport once before, and that was in daylight. I know which signs to look for, but without those, I’m pretty lost. That’s one reason I asked you to come along. I hope that two pairs of eyes watching for the signs will be better than one.”

Ben stared into the milky whiteness outside his window, trying to see anything besides fog. The words of the prayer Mom had offered before they left the house meant more to him now: “Please bless us with safety and guide us to our destination.”

Mom seemed to be whispering. “Did you say something, Mom?” Ben asked.

“Yes, sweetheart, I did,” Mom answered with a smile, “but not to you. I was praying. The fog’s getting worse. I can hardly see the road at all now, and it’s too late to turn back. Please pray, too, Ben.”

Ben didn’t need to be asked. “Please, Heavenly Father,” he was saying silently, his eyes closed, “remember what Mom prayed for before. We need help to find our way through this fog.”

When Ben opened his eyes, in front of their car and a little to the right, he saw two small red lights glowing dimly through the fog. “Look, Mom,” he pointed. “Lights!”

“I see them,” Mom sighed. “They’re taillights. Another car must be in front of us. If we follow it, maybe it will help us stay on the road.”

They followed the taillights through thick fog and through thin fog. Once, when the fog cleared a bit, Ben saw that the other car was a rather ugly old green one. “It’s not a very pretty car,” he laughed, “but I don’t think I’ve ever liked one better.”

“Me, either,” Mom agreed. “Watch for signs now. We need to exit the freeway soon and take another road.”

Ben’s eyes searched for signs. In the thinner fog, he and Mom saw their exit sign at the same moment. But while they had been looking for it, they lost sight of the old green car.

“I feel as if I’ve lost a friend,” Mom said. “I wish I could thank whoever is in that car. They’ll never know how much they helped us. Without them, I don’t know if we would have made it through the first challenge of our trip.”

“The first challenge? That means there must be another one.”

“More than one, I’m afraid. It’ll be darker on this country road, and there’s only one little sign to mark the airport turn. If we miss it in the fog, we’ll really be lost. Keep praying, Ben.”

Usually when he was with Mom, Ben talked nonstop about everything he could think of. But now he was too scared. He felt that they were all alone in a big empty whiteness that was swirling in darkness. It was a lonesome and fearful feeling.

After a few minutes, Mom spoke again. “Do you know what this reminds me of, Ben?” Ben shook his head. “Remember Lehi’s dream that we talked about in family home evening a few weeks ago? Remember how all the people were striving toward the tree when thick mists of darkness surrounded them and many lost their way? Well, this is like being in a mist of darkness. We know where we’re trying to go, but we can’t see to get there. But some people made it through the mist. How did they, Ben?”

“They held on to the iron rod.”

“And what is the iron rod?”

“The word of God,” Ben answered.

“Well, I’m thinking of some of the words of God right now. I remember that He said, ‘Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.’ * I think ‘whithersoever thou goest’ even includes through the fog to the airport, don’t you?”

Ben smiled a little into the darkness. His eyes strained for a glimpse of a sign out the window, and in his mind he kept praying, “Please help us find our way.”

Mom slowed down so suddenly that they came to a complete stop. “Do you see something out there?” she asked.

Ben’s eyes ached as he tried to see. He watched one tiny patch of fog clear just enough to reveal a sign: AIRPORT.

“Oh, Ben!” Mom’s voice trembled as she turned the car. “We’re not alone out here, are we? Only one more challenge now.”

“What’s that?”

“At the airport, there will be quite a bit of traffic, and since I don’t know my way around very well, I’ll have to go slowly and follow signs. I hope we don’t have an accident in the traffic and the fog.”

Mom was right about the traffic. As they neared the airport, cars and buses and all sorts of vehicles converged from all directions, some going much too fast for a foggy night. Mom was forced to keep up with them. “I can’t see the signs, Ben, can you?” Her voice was tense. “I’m not sure where to go from here.”

Ben didn’t know how to help. He was nervous about the speeding cars all around them. Then, just ahead, Ben spotted a familiar-looking ugly green car. He relaxed his clenched hand to point; then he and Mom glanced wordlessly at each other. Mom changed lanes and followed the green car right to the entrance of the parking lot. She parked the car, turned off the engine, leaned back weakly, and looked at Ben.

“Mom,” said Ben, after a quiet moment. “Do you think Heavenly Father answered our prayers with that ugly green car?”

Mom smiled. “What do you think, Ben?”

“Well, I think …” Ben swallowed. Then he grinned. “I think Heavenly Father can answer prayers any way He wants to. Let’s go find Dad.”

[illustration] Illustrated by Lori Anderson