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 his visit.
"I guess you were expecting me," he said.
"No, who are you?"
"I'm 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."
"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 with me right now."
"So, 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
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
Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy
had died that afternoon. "Did he seem to die in peace?" he asked.
"Yes, 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."
So far, today,
I've done all right. I haven't gossiped or lost my temper.
I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, or self centered. I'm really
happy about that so far. But in a few minutes I'm going to be getting
out of bed and then I'm going to need a lot of help. Thank you!