On the way home from work tonight, I heard a national news broadcast carry the voice of Jody Hawkins, mother of the Utah boy who was rescued today in the Uinta Mountains. They carried her tearful voice making this statement: “People say that the heavens are closed and God no longer answers prayers. We are here to unequivocally tell you that the heavens are not closed, prayers are answered and children come home.” I’m certainly grateful that her son, Brennan, has been found – and pleasantly surprised that a Mormon woman would be broadcast nationwide bearing testimony of prayer (I assume she’s Mormon – that testimony of prayer just sounds so Mormon. Her voice sounds Mormon. And I bet she looks Mormon.). Her statement is also being carried in print in sources like the Washington Post. Interesting read – not so much for the big story (actually puzzling why it’s so big), but for the peripheral details.
I don’t want to delve too much into the profound social implications of the Brennan Hawkins story – you know, the reasons why Scouts keep getting lost at camps, the controversial issue of video game addictions in Mormon youth (his first request after being rescued, after eating and drinking something, was “to play a video game on one rescuer’s cell phone”), and the troubling fact that searchers found numerous items of clothing lying around in the mountains of Utah, enough to fill the bed of a pickup truck – why are people discarding items of clothing in the mountains, near a Scout camp of all places? (Oh, right, Hollywood celebrities seem to enjoy the Rockies.)
No, I’ll leave it to more profound blogs to take up those issues. I just want to comment on how grateful I am for prayer. I know many prayers do not go answered – at least not the way we yearn for – and that many lost kids are never found, in spite of equally faithful pleas to God. But whether we suffer or rejoice, we Latter-day Saints, like many other Christians, tend to have strong testimonies of prayer. For many, it is part of daily life, with little miracles all the time, spiritual experiences, insights and guidance, touching gifts of the Spirit in our modern and crazy lives, bringing the evidence of things not seen and the witness of a Love and Power beyond our own.
Prayer is real. God is real. Man can communicate with God – not just about the big problems we face, but about the events of each day, the welfare of our families, the sorrows and fears we face, the decisions we must make. We are left on our own much of the time, but we know that He is there, our Father in Heaven, who loves us and blesses us in His own way. Thanks be to God.