At that, a rather dignified visitor stood up & said, "Yes, sir, I’d like to say something. This is the first time I’ve been back in this church in 35 years. I attended Sunday School in my grade school days, & I see here tonight my old Sunday School teacher, Mr. Alton." And he turned to face him.
Mr. Alton’s eyes opened wide as he looked at the stranger, who asked, "Mr. Alton, do you remember me? I’m Hurley." After a moment or two, a smile came over Mr. Alton’s face & he said, "It’s been a long time & I’m getting kind of old & my eyesight is not so good."
The visitor continued, "Mr. Alton, I want to tell you something that I think will make you happy. I traveled a long way to talk to you & ask your forgiveness. We were the meanest boys that ever were in Sunday School, & we gave you all kinds of trouble. I guess I was the ringleader in the mischief & meanness that went on.
"On the Sunday before my family moved away, I was particularly obnoxious. After leaving class I remembered something I had left in the room & decided I’d better get it since it was my last day. So I went back, & as I looked in the door I saw you seated up front with your head bowed, & it sounded like you were crying. I heard you pray, ‘O Lord, please help me.’ Mr. Alton, I stayed very still for a long time, & then slipped away.
"For 5 years, I hurt inside whenever I thought of you praying there. One day it suddenly occurred to me that I was on the opposite side of the Lord, & I’d been there ever since I was a boy. I’d upset the class & I’d upset the Sunday School & I’d upset everything. It made me pretty miserable.
"Finally I gave my heart to God. I’m an elder in my church now, thanks to the prayer you prayed that day. I’ve been thanking God for you for many years now, & tonight I’ve come to thank you & to let you know."
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