09269_000_016Before they call, I will answer (Isaiah 65:24).
It was 1935, and in the middle of the Great Depression. Many men were out of work, so we were lucky that Dad had a job that summer as a miner in the Oro Del Rey Mine. All of us children got to live in a tent in Goshute Canyon. We played in the creek, and we even had a pet horned owl.
But one afternoon, I noticed that my parents looked worried.
“What are we going to do?” Mama asked Dad.
Dad’s shoulders hunched. His face was dusty with dirt from the mine. “I don’t know,” he said. “They’ll pay me eventually. Just not now.”
“Well, we need money,” Mama said. “The children need to eat.”
They were silent. What would we do if Dad didn’t get paid? My sister Carol came over by me. She looked scared, so I squeezed her hand.
Finally, Dad said, “I think we need a family prayer.”
Our whole family knelt in the dirt. Dad said the prayer. He asked Heavenly Father to help us know what we could do.
Afterward, I started walking toward the old wood stove where Mama had put the doughnuts she’d been frying. She made the best doughnuts, all golden brown with flecks of sugar. I was just reaching for one when—
“Stop!” Mama yelled.
I stared at her.
“We can sell them!” she said. “Don’t you think my doughnuts are good enough that people would buy them?”
I nodded. “Of course they are!”
“You kids can take them door to door when you go into town before Primary on Wednesday afternoon,” Mama said.
So that’s what we did. We sold a dozen doughnuts for a dime. We did it week after week.
Then one awful day Mama said, “We’re out of yeast, and I don’t have a penny to buy more.” She sat down and put her head in her hands.
“Are you all right?” I asked.
“Shh,” she whispered. “I’m praying.”
I folded my arms and closed my eyes too.
A few minutes later, Dad pulled up in our old car. He’d been down in the valley getting the mail. He handed a fat envelope to Mama. “What do you think is in that?”
Mama opened it and gave a little gasp. With shining eyes she pulled out a sample packet of yeast!
“But, Mama,” I asked, “when the baking company sent out that sample, you hadn’t even prayed yet.”
“True,” Mama said. “But in Isaiah the Lord says, ‘Before they call, I will answer.’”
“You are asked to look for an answer to your prayers. Obey the Master’s counsel to ‘study it out in your mind.’ Often you will think of a solution.” 1
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
“Using the Supernal Gift of Prayer,” Ensign, May 2007, 9.
Illustrations by Brad Teare