Mr. Dexter was arrested by the authorities and put in prison for preaching the gospel. He did not stop preaching, but continued witnessing to his fellow prisoners. Many of them were converted. The authorities asked him to stop his preaching, but with holy boldness he replied, "As long as I can talk, I shall preach the Lord Jesus Christ, and also to you who are judges. There is one high Judge at whose bar all of you will have to appear, and you will be judged before Him whether you choose or not."
With sharp and blasphemous words they scoffed at him and cried "We will force you into silence, just wait" and they locked him in a cell among some Communists. Still he was not silent and testified and prayed much. Night after night, one by one, they came to him secretly and inquired about salvation.
Again Mr. Dexter was called before the court. "Well, have the Bolsheviks taught you to curse by this time?" they asked mockingly.
"No, thank God," he replied, "but I have taught them to pray."
"What!" they cried aloud. "You are lying!"
"No, I don't do that," replied Dexter. "I always tell the truth. They are praying on their knees now; they have acknowledged the Lord Jesus as their Saviour."
"Down in the Robber's Den is one place where you will lose your ambition to preach and pray," they replied angrily.
In this den was a large robber band that had been looting whole villages and murdering scores of innocent people. Prisoners who were placed in the den with them were soon stripped of their clothing and abused until they soon died. Along with Mr. Dexter, a Russian orthodox priest and a colonel of the former emperor were thrown into the den before the robbers had a chance to say a thing. Mr. Dexter stepped up to the leader, shook hands with him and with a smile said: "God bless you. We also are criminals condemned to die the same as you are." This courageous and kindly act had such an effect upon these low and merciless beings that the leader said to his associates, "No one ever spoke to us in that manner. We will not molest this man."
That night before Mr. Dexter lay himself on the dirty concrete floor he knelt and prayed aloud to God, remembering his co-inmates in prayer also. In amazement they stood around him wondering what it meant, for they had never seen or heard such things, a man that was not a priest praying, and not in a church service! Some who watched began to make fun, but one look from their leader was sufficient to silence them.
Mr. Dexter grew in favor with the robbers, but the priest was suffering much as the robbers made sport of him. He did not know what to do and would like to have prayed with Mr. Dexter, but did not have the courage.
"Why don't you pray, you long hairy:?" came a load voice from the robbers. "Come on, boys, we will teach him how to pray. Perhaps he has forgotten how it is done. Wait now. Follow me. We will teach you the way you used to teach us."
One of them hung in the corner a piece of paper on which he hung some funny picture to which he made the priest say his prayers. After he had prayed about a half-hour, the priest suddenly stopped.
"Pray on, you old dog," said one of the fellows. "That was no praying. Why don't you pray as Dexter does? When he prays, his prayers make us feel a thrill."
In his distress the priest began to call on the mother of God and on the saints.
"Tell us, you old bird; do you really believe the prayers you say ever do any good?" The priest was silent. Hard blows from the fellows brought his answer, "No."
Voices rose in laughter and mockery. "Listen, listen, men! This devil doesn't believe in his own prayers, but he taught others to do so and charged them plenty of money for his chatter. You low dog! You are to blame for my being a criminal and a murderer. If you and the Kfaffen (nickname for clergyman) had taught us to pray as Dexter is praying, then would I also have been an honest, respectable man. You are to blame for my coming execution. Wait; we will kill you, but before we do you will have to learn how to pray."
Mr. Dexter's heart bled for the priest, but he felt there was much truth in what the robber said and that he should not interfere. He prayed silently that the Lord would reveal Himself to the priest, and in a low tone said to him, "Only acknowledge your sin and call on the Lord, and He will help you." Finally, in his deep despair the priest openly acknowledged that he was a blind leader of the blind misleading the people; that he was a miserable shepherd who cared nothing for the sheep, but was most interested in their wool.
"Now that's better," said one of the fellows. "That sounds more like Dexter's prayers. Go right on." The priest was soundly converted, and both he and Dexter joyfully praised the Lord. The priest became an altogether different man. His speech changed. He was fearless. Together the two men prayed with fervor. It was not long until the colonel also joined them and became a believer.
Mr. Dexter had the privilege, although he had no Bible, of giving them Bible studies. He plainly and simply explained God's plan of salvation. At the second hearing of the story about the thieves on the cross, the leader could stand no more.
"Comrades, this is enough for me; I will confess all our deeds that we have done." Then there followed a terrible confession. "It is frightful, all this that I have done," he continued, "Do you think the Lord would forgive me all this?" A new name was soon written down in heaven.
The leader confessed fully to the court, but the surprise of the officers was still greater when they learned that it was through the preaching and praying of Dexter that he was led to confess.
The next day, word was sent to Mr. Dexter that he might go free. When they parted, the leader gave Mr. Dexter these words: "You have been a father to us; you have taught us how to pray and to trust the Lord. We can die now with joy, and you shall see us again in that great day."
Mr. Dexter later said, "The eight days that I spent in that cellar dungeon were, after all, the most joyful days of my life."
Reader, how is it with your soul? Does this moment find you at peace with God? Jesus has borne the penalty of all your sins, so that you may be forgiven. Oh, accept Him NOW!
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again
the third day according to the scriptures:"
(1 Corinthians 15:3-4)