The Empty Chair
A 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 pastor assumed that the old fellow had been informed of the visit. "I guess you were expecting me," he said.
"No, who are you?"
"I'm the new associate pastor at your
local church", the pastor replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I
figured you knew I was going to show up."
"Oh yeah, the chair," said the
bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"
Puzzled, the pastor shut the door.
"I've 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."
"I 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 it with me right now."
"So, I tried it and I've liked it so
much that I do it a couple of hours each 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 to a funny farm."
The 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.
Two nights later the daughter called to tell
the pastor the her daddy had died that afternoon.
"Did he seem to die in peace?" he
"Yes, when I left the house around two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside and 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- kind of weird.
Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed.