How Could He Pray for a Bicycle?
September 1999

“How Could He Pray for a Bicycle?” Ensign, Sept. 1999, 66–67

How Could He Pray for a Bicycle?

As a seminary student, I had difficulty understanding what was meant by the term power of prayer. I had prayed often both privately and publicly but still did not recognize how prayer could actually help in specific situations.

At the time, my family lived on a military base located some distance from our schools and from the hall where we held Church meetings and early-morning seminary classes. Bicycles were the only mode of transportation for my brothers and sister.

One evening my brother Stefan was sent on an errand to the store. Much later he returned, declaring his bicycle had been stolen. Our parents were quite upset. Feelings ran high, because the loss of the bicycle meant Stefan could not attend seminary class. That evening our home teachers, Brother Peterson and his companion, were due to stop by. At the conclusion of their visit, Brother Peterson asked if there was anything the family required. We said no but did relate the story of the stolen bicycle. Before our home teachers left, we had prayer. During the prayer I almost coughed aloud when Brother Peterson humbly explained to Heavenly Father about the stolen bicycle, stating that Stefan needed it to attend seminary and petitioning for its return.

Pray for a bicycle? I was surprised and wondered, How could anyone pray for a bicycle? I thought our prayers were to concentrate on spiritual needs rather than material ones.

Later that night the telephone rang. It was Brother Peterson. He explained that he had seen a bicycle abandoned by the side of the road and asked Stefan to describe his. Stefan’s bike was covered with distinctive stickers, which made it easily recognizable. Upon hearing this, Brother Peterson was sure he had found Stefan’s bike only a short distance from the spot where it had been stolen. He would bring it right over.

I was astonished when he arrived with Stefan’s bicycle, and I felt I had been taught a significant lesson on prayer. How could I have doubted? This bicycle provided the means for a young man to attend seminary. My testimony of prayer increased a hundredfold, and I learned for myself that we can indeed “ask, and it shall be given” (Matt. 7:7).

  • Andrea Burger James serves as Primary president in the Milnerton Ward, Cape Town South Africa Stake.

Illustrated by Richard Russell