There were two Russian friends who happened to meet on the street. They went to have a cup of tea, and they were chatting.
The first friend said, “You must be so proud of your sons. One son is a doctor. One son is a lawyer. One son is a musician. You must be so proud!”
The other friend replied, “Yes, I am happy with those three sons. But I am truly proud of my fourth son, who lives in America. He has his American citizenship. He is now retired and receives a pension. From that he is able to send me money on a regular basis. With that money we are able to save the whole family from starvation.
The next day, the first man went to the post office and made friends with a postal worker there. He told him about his friend who received money from his son in America on a regular basis. He proposed, “Let us intercept his letters, since they contain money for his family.”
After that, every month, whenever there was a letter from America, the postal worker used to give it to this man. There was always money in it. The man used to give a little money to the postal worker, and the rest he would keep for himself.
This went on for one month, two months, three months. The father was not getting any money from his son in America, and he was becoming so sad and miserable. The son in America was also sad that his father was not thanking him for any of his letters. Although the father was worried, he did not write to ask his son what was the matter. He just waited.
After some time, the father finally sent his son a letter saying that he was not receiving any letters from him and asking if everything was all right. The son was sad and furious. He did not know where the money was going, whether it was being stopped in America or Russia.
Time passed by and one day the two friends again met in the street. This time the father of the son in America was so sad. His friend, the rogue, asked, “Why are you so miserable? What has happened to you?”
The father said, “I do not know what has happened to my son in America. He is not writing to me or sending me money any more. I do not know what is wrong with him.” He started crying and said, “I have no idea whether he is even alive or not!”
The heart of the rogue was touched by his friend’s sadness. “Let us pray to God for your son,” he said.
The father replied, “But we are communists. We do not believe in God.”
The rogue said, “No, when we are in danger, we can pray to God and God will save us. I am praying to God on your behalf, but will you start praying to God yourself?”
The father answered, “All right. If I again start getting money from my son, I will definitely believe in your prayers, and I, too, will start praying to God.”
Then the rogue went back to the post office and said to the postal worker, “We have enough money now. Let us not steal any more. From now on, whenever a letter from America comes, you should send it to the right person.”
When the father again began to receive letters from his son in America, he was so happy, so relieved and so surprised at the same time. He told his rogue-friend, “God has listened to your prayer! Now I am also going to become a devotee of God. I shall pray like you.”
So the father started praying to God — if there is a God — since God had listened to his friend’s prayer!