Then Jesus said to his disciples,
"If anyone would come after me, he must first deny himself and
take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life
will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
( Matt. 16:24 )
THE EMPTY CHAIR
A man's daughter had asked the local minister to
come and pray with her father. When the minister
arrived, he found the man lying in bed with
his head propped up on two pillows. An empty chair
sat beside his bed.
The minister 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
The minister 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 bed ridden man.
"Would you mind closing the door?" Puzzled, the
minister 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. I abandoned
any attempt at prayer," the old man continued,
"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 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 off to the funny
The minister 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
minister that her daddy had died that afternoon.
"Did he die in peace?" he asked. "Yes, and when
I left the house about two o' clock, he called me
over to his bedside and 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 on the chair beside the
bed. What do you make of that?"
The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said,
"I wish we could all go
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