Jun 5, 2008

A Camper's Prayer

by Kari Diane Pike

Have you ever played, “I’m Going On a Camping Trip and I’m Going to Bring A….” Someone is chosen to go first. He/she makes up a rule about what everyone can bring on the camping trip…but doesn’t tell anyone what the rule is. The other players have to figure out the rule by saying in turn what they want to bring on the trip and finding out if the first player will let them bring it or not.

We played this game as a family while we waited by the side of the freeway, twenty miles south of Camp Verde, Arizona, for a tow truck to pick us up and transport us to the nearest car rental agency. We continued to play as we rode in our disabled vehicle high atop the tow truck, laughing at how often we were startled that Dad wasn’t watching the road. By the time we hit the road again in our newly rented mini van, the game had ended, but conversations between parents and children continued. The clouds and rain and even a bit of snow made our world seem just a little bit smaller…not in a confining way…but in a protective kind of embrace.

We easily found the turn off the highway that would lead us to Oscar and Winnie’s property near Four Hills Ranch. We were anxious to get there because we knew Oscar had a dead battery in his motor home and needed jumper cables so they could use their heater. Somewhere along the dirt roads, we missed a turn. About the time we realized our mistake, seventeen-year-old Ammon asked,

“Dad, aren’t we getting a little low on gas?”

Right at that moment the warning bell signaled. We were on empty. We were a good 20 miles from a gas station and we had no idea where we were and the cows sure weren’t telling. We had tried calling Uncle Oscar a few minutes earlier, but he hadn’t answered. Now we couldn’t even get phone service. It was time for some serious praying.

After our family prayer, we drove back to a spot where we thought we had missed a turn. Right at that moment we got phone service. This time Oscar answered his phone and we made it to the campsite safely. When we told Oscar about our predicament, he laughed and said he’d trade us the jumper cables for the can of gas he just happened to bring for a chain saw they needed to cut some dead trees. That gallon of gas got us to the nearest gas station.

After we returned home, we talked about the trip with our kids. They will never forget it. Our fifteen-year-old daughter said,

“It was so much fun. Yeah stuff happened, but nobody got upset or anything. We just prayed and did our best, and things worked out. We got to be with family and we got to see our prayers answered. It was cool.”

Next time I go on a camping trip, I'm going to bring...


  1. Traveling as much as we did in my childhood, family car games were a necessity. Sounds like a fun one.

  2. I read a novel in which the lead, faced with a seemingly insurmountable problem, was counseled to look--figuratively--for the door in the wall. I love how prayer so often acts as our door in the wall, which your post illustrates beautifully.
    Kari, thanks, too, for adding to my "laundry list." (: I got a good chuckle.
    Sarah Albrecht

  3. Kari, you roused wonderful memories of family camping trips and other outings. I still see my daughter and I pushing the car along the highway approaching Las Vegas from the west, while my husband and sons sat inside, declaring it was a needless exercise. But we enjoyed it. And it got a man in scout uniform to stop and befriend us. A Mormon scout leader, by the way.

    I remember singing "You Are My Sunshine' quite often on every trip, until the time David said he wouldn't go unless we promised not to sing "Sunshine". Within the first hour on the road--you guessed it--David burst out with "I can't stand it any longer. Sing it." David joined us with gusto.

    It's the little things like this that make a unique, forever family. Thanks for reminding me.

  4. Oh Anna! I love hearing about your family. I laughed right out loud when I read about David!

  5. We used to sing songs in the car all the time. Now the kids watch t.v. or play with their gameboys. I sort of miss that.

    What a great story about the power of prayer and the power of a good attitude.


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