One woman, arriving at church, saw a little girl about eight years of age standing by the door. She was holding a letter, and glancing around timidly. She wanted to do something, but didn't want it to be noticed. "What are you doing here, my child?" asked the woman.
The girl did not reply. However, when the woman took her by the hand, spoke to her, and asked to see the letter, the girl began to cry. Through her tears she explained that she had written a letter to God, in which she was asking Him to send her family something to eat.
From the girl's tale it became apparent that her parents were severely ill and that another four children were dying of starvation.
The woman took the letter and saw that it was addressed "To the Merciful God." The girl explained that the priest had often said that when we ask God for something we always get what we ask for. She saw how people prayed using books, but she had no book and no time to pray for a long time like others. For this reason she had written a letter and had come to church, intending to hide her letter in a box which was by the doors. "Give me this letter," said the woman. "I know what to do so that the Lord God will hear your prayer."
The girl returned home with a light heart and a firm faith that the Lord would send something. She sat all day waiting by the window, saying nothing to anyone. Yet the day passed without any reply. In the evening, lying down on her hard bed, she prayed that the Lord would quickly answer her letter.
Arising early the next morning, the girl ran to the window in full expectation of finding an answer from heaven. When she found nothing there, she opened the door-and stood in amazement. Behind the door was a full basket of bread and other food. On top lay a letter which said that God had sent this to her and that He would send someone to see her parents very soon.
Before lunch a doctor arrived and gave her sick father some medicine. Then another kind and sympathetic woman came and brought some money which she had collected from friends for this poor family, having told them the story of the letter. With the help of the doctor and the good, nourishing food, the sick soon recovered and were able to support themselves again. By the faith of this girl, the entire family was saved.
Children! In God's word it says: Ask, and it shall be given you. So pray earnestly, and the Lord will accept and fulfill your requests as He did for this girl as you have just heard.
Translated by Maria Naumenko from Pastyrskiye Besedy s Det'mi, Moscow 1997 (reprinted from a 1901 edition).
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