The Necessary Part


I felt prompted to pray for exactly what we needed, and that’s exactly what we got.

The car sputtered to a stop and so did my prospects of making the dance. Until then, it had been clear sailing all the way from Hillsboro, Oregon. My mom, uncle, cousin, and I were heading back to Salt Lake City from a family reunion. I hoped to be back in time to meet up with my friends.

Uncle Joe, who had been driving, got out to check under the hood and quickly diagnosed the problem. Unfortunately, it was one that couldn’t be fixed quickly, at least not under the circumstances.

The alternator belt had snapped in half, meaning no power to the battery. The only remedy was a new belt, and in the middle of nowhere, there was none to be found. That stretch of Idaho road between Boise and Mountain Home felt like the most auto-parts-store-less place on earth. It was nearing five o’clock on Saturday afternoon, greatly diminishing our chances of finding such a store before everything closed for the weekend.

We decided that the best thing would be for Uncle Joe to hitchhike into Mountain Home, try to get the part, and catch a ride back to the car. As he stepped toward the highway looking for a ride, my cousin said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to watch over all of us and keep us safe.

I said my own private prayer, asking that everything would be okay. I hadn’t finished praying when I had the impression that I should ask for exactly what I needed. I felt the more specific the request, the more specific the answer would be.

I started to pray again, this time asking specifically for Uncle Joe’s safe travel, that he would be able to get the right part, and that we would be able to get on our way without further complications. I looked up after closing my prayer and saw a truck pulling over to pick up Uncle Joe.

I decided it would probably take at least an hour for him to get back, and I would start worrying if he took longer than an hour and a half. Forty-five minutes later, another truck pulled off the highway, and Uncle Joe and the driver got out. In less than five minutes, they had replaced the alternator belt and jump-started our car.

As we drove, Uncle Joe told us the story. The man who picked him up had a brother who owned an auto parts store. The place was closed by the time they got there, but they knocked on the door hoping someone might still be inside. After a few knocks, the man’s brother appeared at the door more than happy to help. The only belt that would fit our car was the very last one he had. And the price of the belt was exactly how much money Joe had with him.

My uncle thanked them both and asked for directions back to the highway. The owner of the parts store said, “My assistant is just finishing up in back and lives in Boise. I’m sure he’d give you a ride.” They were on the road a few minutes later.

I know it sounds like lucky coincidences, but that experience taught me that there is no such thing. By the time we made it into Salt Lake City that night, it was too late to go to the dance.

But the testimony I gained of the power of prayer was better than being with my friends. I know that all the pieces to fixing the car fell into place exactly right in order to testify to me that the Lord hears and answers prayer, especially when He helps us know what to pray for.

[illustration] Illustrated by Steve Kropp