THE EMPTY CHAIR
man's daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When
the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on
two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The priest assumed that the old
fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting
me," he said.
who are you?"
the new associate at your local church," the pastor replied. "When I
saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up."
yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the
the pastor shut the door.
never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all
of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor
talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head.."
abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one
day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Joe, prayer is just a
simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here's what I suggest. Sit
down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on
the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I'll be with you always.' Then
just speak to him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right
I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day.
I'm careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd
either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."
pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on
the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church.
nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that
he seem to die in peace?" he asked.
when I left the house around two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told
me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the
store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, In fact,
beyond strange--kinda weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over
and rested his head on a chair beside the bed."