“Pray for every one of my class. I want them all.” And at this Esther actually started, for the petition came from the lips of the blue-ribboned Fanny in the corner. A lady actually taking part in a prayer-meeting when gentlemen were present! How very improper. She glanced around her nervously, but no one else seemed in the least surprised or disturbed; and indeed another young lady immediately followed her with a similar request.
“Now,” said the leader, “let us pray.” And that prayer was so strange in its sounding to Ester. It did not commence by reminding God that he was the maker and ruler of the universe, or that he was omnipotent and omnipresent and eternal, or any of the solemn forms of prayer to which her ears were used, but simply: “Oh, dear Savior, receive these petitions which we bring. Turn to thyself the heart of the lad who ridicules the efforts of his teacher; lead the little brother into the strait and narrow way; gather that entire class into thy heart of love”—and thus for each separate request a separate petition; and as the meeting progressed it grew more strange every moment to Ester. Each one seemed to have a word that he was eager to utter; and the prayers, while very brief, were so pointed as to be almost startling. They sang, too, a great deal, only a verse at a time, and whenever they seemed to feel like it. Her amazement reached its hight when she felt a little rustle beside her, and turned in time to see the eager light in Abbie’s eyes as she said:
“One of my class has decided for Christ.”
“Good news,” responded the leader. “Don’t let us forget this item of thanksgiving when we pray.”
As for Ester she was almost inclined not to believe her ears. Had her cousin Abbie actually “spoken in meeting?” She was about to sink into a reverie over this, but hadn’t time, for at this point the leader arose.
“I am sorry,” said he, “to cut the thread that binds us, but the hour is gone. Another week will soon pass, though, and, God willing, we shall take up the story—sing.” And a soft, sweet chant stole through the room: “Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting of my hands as evening sacrifice.” Then the little company moved with a quiet cheerfulness toward the door.
“Have you enjoyed the evening?” Abbie asked in an eager tone, as they passed down the aisle.
“Why, yes, I believe so; only it was rather queer.”
“Queer, was it? How?”
“Oh, I’ll tell you when we get home. Your minister is exactly behind us, Abbie, and I guess he wants to speak with you.”
There was a bright flush on Abbie’s face, and a little sparkle in her eye, as she turned and gave her hand to the minister, and then said in a demure and softly tone: “Cousin Ester, let me make you acquainted with my friend, Mr. Foster.”
THE NEW BOARDER.