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.
The ancient church leader James encouraged members of the church to pray for one another. He reassured them that “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16).
In the passage above, we see the outcome of Alma’s prayer for his wayward son. God sent an angel to call his son to repentance. Lest the son have any misconceptions about why he was having this experience, the angel informed him that he had come in answer to many prayers, and particularly in response to his father’s prayers of faith.
Why was Alma’s prayer answered so miraculously, when so many other parents’ prayers have not been answered in the same way? We don’t know, and we certainly can’t dictate how an omniscient God ought to answer our prayers. But the passage above seems to clearly encourage all of us to continue to pray for the people we love, particularly for people who are making unwise choices and whom we hope will see the light and have a change of heart.
Commenting on this passage, President Henry B. Eyring said:
Alma and the Saints of his day prayed for his son and the sons of King Mosiah. An angel came. Your prayers and the prayers of those who exercise their faith will bring the Lord’s servants to help your family members. They will help them choose the way home to God….
My promise to you who pray and serve the Lord cannot be that you will have every blessing you may wish for yourself and your family. But I can promise you that the Savior will draw close to you and bless you and your family with what is best (“Come Unto Me,” General Conference, April 2013).
Today, I will pray for the people I love, particularly my own family members. I will trust that my consistent prayers of faith on their behalf will invite blessings into their lives. Even though I may not be able to predict and may not even notice how they are being blessed, I will trust that my prayers on their behalf are helping them to draw closer to God.