A Prayer in the Parking Lot
July 1999

“A Prayer in the Parking Lot,” Ensign, July 1999, 56–57

A Prayer in the Parking Lot

One night I was filling my shift as an ordinance worker in the Dallas Texas Temple when another temple worker told me my wife had gone home with a headache. Just then my supervisor came down the corridor. I stopped him and explained the situation, asking if it would be all right if I went home early. “Yes, by all means,” he said. I quickly changed my clothes and left the temple.

I began to jog toward my car, which was parked on the northwest corner of the temple grounds. As I jogged I noticed a light-blue sports car with its dome light on. I could see a young woman sitting behind the wheel. I hurried by the sports car and was about halfway to my car when I suddenly stopped. At the same time, I felt a strong impression that I should go back.

I immediately walked back to the car and tapped on the window. I asked if I could help her and told her I would be happy to answer any questions she might have.

The young woman’s name was Mary, and she told me she had a friend who had given her a book about the Church. She held up a copy of A Marvelous Work and a Wonder and said it had answered a few questions she had. I smiled and told her it was a wonderful book and encouraged her to keep reading it.

Mary looked straight into my eyes and said, “What I really have been doing is praying. I pulled into this parking lot and prayed that someone would come out of that building who could answer some of my questions.”

I told her I would be happy to try.

“I would like to go into that building, but I know I can’t do that now,” she said. “What do you do in there?”

I began by telling her that we believe in being married for time and all eternity, and that was one of the things we do in the temple.

“Don’t you get baptized or something in there too?” she asked.

“Yes, we do. We do proxy baptisms in the temple,” I answered. I went to get a copy of the booklet Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and told her it would answer her questions about the temple.

She began crying. After a few seconds she composed herself enough to say, “There’s more to this story I should tell you.” Through her tears she said, “My husband and I have been having problems, and tonight he asked me for a divorce.” She explained that they could not agree on what they wanted out of life.

“Young lady,” I said, trying to offer her some comfort, “my heart goes out to you. I’m sure this is a very trying time for you.” I knew I couldn’t give counsel on her marriage, so I didn’t know what else to say.

Mary then began asking questions about the Church. For some time I answered gospel questions as she asked them. I quoted scriptures that I remembered only because I could hear my voice saying them. I told her that we encouraged people to study and pray about their questions and to ask God if the teachings of the Church are true.

Near the end of our conversation I asked her if she would like to meet with the missionaries. She said she wanted to study and pray some more on her own before talking with them. We exchanged names, addresses, and phone numbers, and I invited her to call if she had questions.

I asked her if she thought Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. She said she thought He did.

I said, “Mary, I know He does.” I explained to her that I had left the temple early that evening to check on my wife but had been impressed to go back to her car.

Mary began to cry again. “He does answer prayers, doesn’t He?” she said.

“Yes, Mary, He does,” I said.

When I got home my wife was fine and resting well, but I had to wake her and tell her about my wonderful experience. It was truly humbling to see firsthand how Heavenly Father can answer the prayers of His children.

  • K. Lloyd Hess is a priests quorum instructor in the Star Heights Ward, Albuquerque New Mexico Stake.