The Lord Hath Heard the Prayers of…Thy Father – Mosiah 27:14

14 And again, the angel said: Behold, the Lord hath heard the prayers of his people, and also the prayers of his servant, Alma, who is thy father; for he has prayed with much faith concerning thee that thou mightest be brought to the knowledge of the truth; therefore, for this purpose have I come to convince thee of the power and authority of God, that the prayers of his servants might be answered according to their faith.

A righteous parent can have a powerful influence for good in the lives of their children.  Parents love their children deeply and want them to enjoy every happiness.  It is heartbreaking to see your children make unwise choices, choices which you know will not bring them the happiness they seek.
Alma not only rejected the teachings of his father, he actively and publicly fought against them.  As the leader of the church, his father must have been not only saddened but also embarrassed by his son’s actions.  We don’t know all the ways his father tried to reach him, but we do know what made the difference in the end: his prayers of faith on behalf of his son.
James E. Faust discussed the influence parents can have:

Perhaps in this life we are not given to fully understand how enduring the sealing cords of righteous parents are to their children. It may very well be that there are more helpful sources at work than we know. I believe there is a strong familial pull as the influence of beloved ancestors continues with us from the other side of the veil (“Dear Are the Sheep that Have Wandered,” General Conference, April 2003).

We don’t know how much Alma’s father had to pray before his son had such a remarkable experience.  We don’t know why Alma was ready to respond to that experience at that time.  There are certainly other people who have been called to repentance in miraculous ways, even by angels, who did not change their ways (see 1 Nephi 17:45, for example).

In the March, 2014 issue of the Ensign, there is an article by Elder David A. Bednar entitled “Faithful Parents and Wayward Children.”  He discusses the power that righteous parents can receive from God as they labor to influence their children for good:

Parents who honor temple covenants are in a position to exert great spiritual influence over time on their children. Faithful members of the Church can find comfort in knowing that they can lay claim to the promises of divine guidance and power, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and the privileges of the priesthood, in their efforts to help family members receive the blessings of salvation and exaltation.

Today, in my role as a father, I will remember the influence I can have in the lives of my children.  I will seek inspiration in my efforts to teach them and to encourage them to live righteously.  I will set a good example for them, teach them correct principles, pray for them, and be patient with them as they learn to use their agency wisely.

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