Short stories are powerful. One of the main reasons why Jesus told so many parables was that He knew the impact they would have on people and their faith. I pray this short story blesses and encourages you today.
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 pastor at your local church,” the man replied. “When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up.” “Oh, 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 and I felt discouraged and then abandoned any attempt at prayer. That was 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 you do. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It’s not strange because Jesus promised, ‘I’ll be with you always. Then just imagine him there right beside you. 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 think I was mad!”
The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man 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 that her father had passed away that afternoon.
“Did he seem to die in peace?” he asked.
“Yes, when you left the house 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 there was something strange. In fact, very strange. Apparently, just before Father died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed and that’s how I found him, with such a look of peace on his face”.