Don't Be Ashamed to Pray

Don't Be Ashamed to Pray

Tom Brown's father sent him to a private boys' school when he was very young. At first it was hard to say good-by to his father and mother and go to live with many boys who were older than himself. His father, as he got on the train to go to school, shook hands with him and said, "Now, Tom, be a stouthearted boy and remember to study hard." His mother kissed him and said, "Don't forget to say your prayers each night." Tom bit his lip hard, for he didn't want to cry or show how badly he felt to be leaving home.

Some of the big boys were mean to Tom at first, but before long he was playing in all the sports at school and was making friends with other boys. As he grew older he became stronger and learned how to defend himself against the bullies at school. Tom thought he was a brave boy because he was good in sports and popular with all the other boys in the school.

One day a new boy named Arthur came to school. He was thin and shy and small for his age. The teacher said, "Tom, I am going to put Arthur in your charge. He is a new boy, and I want you to be a big brother to him and protect him. He will sleep in the dormitory with you in the same large room with a dozen other boys."

Tom was really unhappy. Physically, Arthur looked like a weakling. Tom only wanted friends who were powerful and strong and good in athletics.

Now when Tom had first come to the school and slept in the room with all those other boys, he did not get out of bed to say his prayers as he did at home. He was afraid the boys would make fun of him. So, after all the lights were out, he just pulled the sheets over his head and said his prayers to himself under the bed clothes. Then, after a while, he got tired of doing that and just went to sleep without even remembering to say his prayers.

The first night that the new boy, Arthur, came into the room he undressed just like the other boys did. But when he was in his pajamas, he quietly knelt down beside his bed to say his prayers, as he always had done at home. Three or four boys burst out laughing. Two or three others sneered, pointing their fingers at Arthur, and saying, "Look at the simple little idiot saying his prayers." Then over in the far corner of the room one of the boys who was a bully picked up his shoe, threw it across the room, and hit Arthur on the shoulder.

That was too much for Tom. He sprang out of bed. He picked up the shoe and threw it back. Then standing in the middle of the room, in a voice of indignation, he asked, "Is there anyone who wants to throw another shoe at Arthur?" All the boys quieted down. No one dared to say a word.

The lights were put out and everybody went to sleep, that is, everybody except Tom. Tom couldn't sleep because he was thinking. He had thought that Arthur was a weakling, yet Arthur had dared to say his prayers before the other boys and Tom had not. Tom had broken his promise to his mother, because he told her that he would always say his prayers. He felt very unhappy.

The next morning when Arthur knelt down to say his prayers, Tom knelt beside him, saying his prayers, too. No one laughed and no one sneered and no one threw any shoes. The room was very quiet. When Tom finished his prayers and looked up, he was surprised to see three other boys kneeling and saying their prayers, too. They had taken courage from Arthur and Tom!

| More