A man's daughter had asked the parish priest to come and pray with her
father. When the priest arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his
head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed. The
priest assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit.
"I guess you were expecting me," he said.
"No, who are you?" said the father.
The priest told him his name and then remarked, "I see 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
Puzzled, the priest shut the door.
"I have 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 went right over my head.
abandoned any attempt at prayer, until 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. Here is what I suggest.' Sit down in 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 in the same way you're doing with me
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 priest was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to
continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil,
and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell
the priest that her daddy had died that afternoon.
"Did he die in peace?" he 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 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?"
The priest wiped a tear from his eye and said,
"I wish we could all go
The song "Fairest Lord Jesus"
is featured on Turning of the Key CD by Margi Harrell
out Music CDs by Margi Harrell