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 to off
to the funny farm."

      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 church.

      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
really weird.
Apparently,
just before Daddy died,
he leaned over
and rested his head
on a chair beside the bed."



  --author unknown




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