As a teenager reading the Book of Mormon, I remember thinking how wonderful it was that Heavenly Father heard Alma the Elder when he prayed for his son.
The scripture says the Lord “heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma,” who were concerned about Alma the Younger (Mosiah 27:14). In response to these hundreds and maybe thousands of prayers, an angel of the Lord appeared and five young men switched from persecuting the Church to sharing the gospel. They became mighty missionaries.
I was thinking how wonderful it would be to witness such a powerful response to prayer. Then I realized I already had.
I was working with my father on the family ranch in Robertson, Wyoming, USA. It was my mother’s birthday, and her parents had invited the family to dinner at their place on Hillard Flat, east of Evanston. In order not to disappoint my mother by arriving late, my father decided to take a shortcut through the hills. Unfortunately, April was way too early in the year to attempt that particular shortcut. As we drove into the hills, it became obvious that we were the first to attempt to cross there that spring. There was still a lot of snow.
The first part of the journey went well, but then we started to find larger and larger drifts, and it became harder and harder to get around them. At one point my father, in his pride-and-joy Suburban, decided go around a large drift by climbing up the side of a hill. The truck was unable to negotiate the slippery terrain. We tipped on an angle, with my father’s side of the Suburban completely embedded in the drift. We were completely helpless and unable to continue.
I was only 10 years old at the time, and I found the adventure quite exciting. We finally had to climb out the window to get out. I did not understand the serious nature of our situation. This was long before the age of cell phones. No one knew that we had taken the shortcut. We were around 12 miles from any homes or the highway. The temperature was plummeting, and unbeknownst to me, my father was worried that we would freeze to death.
I still remember kneeling in prayer. My father asked only two things. First, which way we should walk. Second, could my mother please know something was wrong and send help. I don’t know if my father actually said, “Please, don’t let us freeze,” but I’m sure that was on his mind.
The two requests he voiced in prayer were answered almost immediately. My father felt like we should return the way we had come. At the same time (we later learned), my mother was doing the dishes when she felt distinctly that something was wrong. She counseled with my grandfather, Joseph Barker, and they also prayed. After a short time, my grandfather said, “I know where they are. They’re at Horseshoe Bend.”
Horseshoe Bend is exactly where the Suburban was embedded in the snow.
Grandpa Barker organized two rescue parties. One, led by my uncle Brent Barker, would try to go in where we would have come out. They made the attempt but ran into drifts that were impossible to pass. Grandpa and two other uncles, my father’s brothers Max and Richard Brough, came the long way around and entered at the same place where we had started. They soon found one lonely set of tracks entering and nothing returning.
In the meantime, my father kept talking to me as we were walking. He kept asking if I was tired and if I felt like I was falling asleep. I remember thinking those were strange questions. Of course I was cold—very cold and very tired. But where would I sleep? In the snow? (I have since learned that being tired and sleepy may be signs that you’re freezing to death. My dad was worried.)
After hours of walking, we finally saw the headlights of our rescuers’ trucks. When they reached us, my mother leapt out and ran to me. She swept me up and carried me to the warm vehicle. I also remember her shaking her finger at dad—we all know how mama bear reacts when baby bear is in trouble! Let’s just say that my father’s reception was not as warm as mine.
As a teenager, I had to remind myself that I had already witnessed an impressive answer to prayers. As I kept growing in the gospel, I found time and again that the Lord does hear and answer us. Through prayer you will find comfort, strength, and guidance.
Not every prayer will lead to a miraculous rescue. But there is a miracle that takes place when we pray about a simple question like, “Is the Book of Mormon true?” When we are sincere, and when we are persistent, the miracle is that Heavenly Father always answers. Always.
“Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth” (Mormon 9:21).
It is my testimony that this promise is unto all, when we “ask God … with a sincere heart [and] with real intent” (Moroni 10:4).