My Prayer in the North Sea
October 2014

“My Prayer in the North Sea,” Ensign, October 2014, 76–77

My Prayer in the North Sea

Olaf Thorlief Jensen, Utah, USA

ship in a storm

Illustrations by Bradley H. Clark

When I was 17 years old, we lived on an island in southern Norway called Andabeløy. My father converted to the Church on Andabeløy, and I was baptized in the ocean there.

I was a fisherman by that time and was well experienced in handling a boat. My father put me in charge of our maritime taxi service used by area residents.

One day in 1941 we got a call from the doctor in Flekkefjord, to the north. A woman who lived about two hours away by boat needed immediate medical attention. Dr. Hoffman asked if I could take him to see her, but my parents were worried about a storm raging in the North Sea. We decided to pray, asking Heavenly Father what to do. We received an answer that I should proceed.

When I eased Tryg, my 31-foot (10 m) fishing boat, into the sea, the weather was bad and the waves were big. After picking up the doctor, I set out through the fjord into the open sea. We were to travel to a community just north of Lista, located on Norway’s rocky southern coastline—famous for stormy weather and shipwrecks.

I steered through the storm until we got to a rocky inlet, about 40 feet (12 m) across, which led to our destination. The waves, so high I could not control the boat through the inlet, were rushing into the inlet and crashing against the rocks.

“What should we do?” the doctor asked over the gale.

“We have to pray about it,” I replied.

I paused and prayed, asking Heavenly Father for direction. As soon as I had said amen, an answer came to me clearly. I suddenly recalled a story an old fisherman had told me. He had been fishing in this same area during a bad storm and couldn’t get to shore. As he waited out the storm, he noticed a pattern in the incoming waves. After three great big waves washed in, a short period of calm followed—long enough for him to enter the inlet.

I had fished many times in this area but had never noticed a wave pattern. Nevertheless, I brought the boat to the front of the inlet, where we waited and watched as three big waves came in. Sure enough, a sudden calm followed. I glided the boat forward over the smooth water of the inner bay and brought Dr. Hoffman safely to shore. He hurried to the ill woman while I waited in the boat, thankful Heavenly Father had answered my prayer.

When the doctor returned about an hour later, he declared, “We saved her life!”

Relieved by the news and the improving weather, I piloted the boat home without incident.

I bear witness that when we need help, we should pray. I know that Heavenly Father will answer.