A Spare Prayer

“A Spare Prayer,” Ensign, June 1992, 46–47

A Spare Prayer

It was eight-year-old Janene’s turn to offer the family prayer before we left on our final summer outing. Janene thanked Heavenly Father for “our many blessings” and asked that “we will be blessed to travel safely and have a good time together and return home without harm or accident.”

My wife, Flora, our daughter Marie, and Janene packed the car, and we were off for the day. We traveled over a rough gravel road to reach Goose Creek, and I drove carefully to protect tires. Nevertheless, when we had been at Goose Creek for about an hour, I returned to the car to get a drink of water and noticed the left rear tire was low. It’s good I saw that now, I thought. I can slip on the spare and we’ll be able to have the flat repaired at the service station on our way home.

Late that afternoon we started for home and stopped at a service station to repair the flat tire. As I was putting the spare tire into the trunk, I decided the gravel road was rougher than I thought: the right rear tire was also going flat.

“I guess we had better repair this one too,” I told the attendant.

He agreed. “You wouldn’t want to be on the road between here and the highway at this time of the evening when there is no traffic.”

But as we were driving along the gravel road, I felt the car sway—as incredible as it seemed, we had another flat tire. I mounted the spare tire and we were off.

We were about fifteen miles from the service station when the car began to sway again. I stopped, opened the car door, and leaned out, hoping that I wouldn’t see what I knew I was going to see. Sure enough, we had yet another flat tire! Now we were in serious trouble. It was dark, there was no traffic along this road, we couldn’t move the car, and relatives in town didn’t know where we were.

To calm everyone, I said, “We have plenty of food. I’m sure someone will come along soon.” I was just going to propose a prayer when I heard Janene mutter, “I didn’t think my prayer was a very good one anyway.” Now I couldn’t suggest that we have prayer, or Janene might doubt our Father in Heaven hears her prayers.

I got out of the car and looked at the tire again. I noticed that the bead of the tire had not slipped off the rim of the wheel even though the tire was completely flat. I began to wonder if we could still drive. Still doubting, I got back into the car and started the engine.

We began to move slowly along the road. One mile, two miles, three miles. “No one ever drives three miles on a flat tire without the tire bead slipping off the wheel rim,” I said in amazement. Five, ten, fifteen, sixteen miles rolled by. Flip-flop! The tire bead slipped off the wheel rim, and we thudded to a stop right next to a farm house.

A man was standing in the front yard tending an open fire. “We’re having a little trouble,” I began.

“I can see that,” he replied.

I asked to use the telephone and was waiting for the operator to call back when he said, “I just might have a mounted tire that would fit your car. Let’s go out and see.”

We dug through some machinery in a shed and found the wheel with a tire mounted on it. We rolled the wheel over to the car and put it on. “It fits exactly!” I exclaimed. “Could I buy the wheel and tire from you?”

“No. I don’t want to sell it, but you can borrow it if you will bring it back. In fact, I think I have another one you can take along as a spare.”

He smiled as he put the other wheel in the trunk. “That should get you home.”

As we were skimming along the highway with all tires inflated and a spare in the trunk, I reviewed with the family the almost unbelievable events of the day.

Then I reached over, took Janene by the hand, and asked, “Now, what do you think of the prayer you asked this morning?”

She turned to me, and a smile brightened her tired face.