A few years ago, a church member asked me to stop by her house and pray with her father. When I arrived, the man was lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows, with an empty chair next to his beside.
I assumed he had been informed of my visit. “I guess you were expecting me,” I said.
“No, who are you?” he said.
I introduced myself and explained that I stopped by to pray with him. I then commented on the chair saying, “I noticed the empty chair, did you have a recent visitor?”
“Oh, the chair,” said the bedridden man. “Would you mind closing the door?”
Puzzled, I shut the door.
He then said, “I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter. All my life I have never known how to pray. In fact, I abandoned any attempt at prayer. Then, one day, about four years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus.’ He suggested I sit down in a chair and place an empty chair in front of me. Then he said, ‘In faith, see Jesus in that chair. It’s not spooky because he promised: “I’ll be with you always.” Then just speak to him 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 times 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.”
This really moved me. I was here to pray with him, and he taught me. Then we prayed and I went on with my other visits. Two nights later the daughter called to tell me her daddy had died that afternoon.
“Did he die in peace?” I asked.
“Yes, when I left the house about two o’clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But, Pastor, there was something strange about his death. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head in the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?”
In a muffled tone I said, “I wish we could all go like that.”
“The Lord is near to All who call on Him.” -Psalm 145:18