The Empty Chair
A man's daughter asked the Pastor of her church if he would come to her house and pray with her dad. He had been very sick and bedridden and she was becoming very worried about him. They never spoke about God or Jesus amongst the family or in the house, so she didn't know if he had received Christ as his Savior.
When the Pastor arrived, she led him to her dad's room. The Pastor found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair next to the bed. The Pastor assumed that the old man was told about his coming to visit and he sat down on the chair.
"I guess you were expecting me?" asked the Pastor.
"No. Who are you?"
"I'm the new Pastor of the church that your daughter attends." He replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you were expecting me."
"Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"
The Pastor was a bit puzzled but thought the man probably wanted privacy from his daughter. He got up to close the door then returned to the chair beside the bed.
"I've never told anyone this, not even my daughter," the man shamefully said with his head bowed. "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. He never explained HOW I'm suppose to pray. What am I suppose to say? What am I suppose to do? I just didn't understand what he meant. So I gave up all attempts at prayer."
The man slowly raised his head to look the Pastor in the eye, as he continued, "Then, one day about four years ago, as my best friend and I were talking about Jesus Christ, I told him I didn't know how to pray. 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 and place an empty chair in front of you. And, in faith, see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky... because He promised, "I am with you always." Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now."
The man's eyes sparkle and he smiles, "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 farm", he says with a light chuckle.
The Pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the man to continue with his method of praying. Then they said a prayer together and the Pastor left.
Two nights later, the daughter called to tell the Pastor that her dad had passed away that afternoon.
"Did he seem to go 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 he had passed away."
Then with an after thought she said, "But I noticed that there seemed to be something strange. In fact, beyond strange. It actually seemed sort of weird to me. Apparently, just before my dad passed away, he leaned over and rested his head on an empty chair that he always kept next to his bed."
Hebrews 13:5 .... For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never abandon you."
After reading this story, maybe we should ask ourself, "How much time am I spending with God? How often do I pray to Him? Once a day? Once a week? Only when I need Him?"
The Lord is always there waiting to spend time with us. He created us, not to just sit back and watch how we make it in this world, but so that He could have an intimate relationship with us.
As for me, the dearest time I love spending time with God is while I'm gardening. It's so easy then because we discuss HIS plants. Whether or not they will grow, or how beautiful they look and He gives me insight as to what I need to do to nourish them. The same way He gives me insight as to how He is/will nourish me.
I encourage you ... turn the t.v. off, turn the computer off, step away from the games, stop texting and spend at least five minutes with God. Surely, you have five minutes! Spend time with Him while you're cooking, maybe while you're driving, or better yet, when you're in the shower.
Tell Him things you would tell your friends, your neighbor, or your husband. Thank Him for the blessings He has given you. Praise Him for the times He saved you from danger or rescued you from your burdens and pain!
The best and greatest moments you could ever experience in your life, is the time you spend with God!
Shalom! ~One Love~