A man's daughter asked the local 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 and an empty chair beside his bed. I guess you were expecting me, he said. No, who are you? I'm the new associate at your parish, the priest replied.
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. 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. Sit down on a chair, place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. 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, Father, 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 send me off to the funny farm.
The priest was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the rectory. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the priest 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, Father. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed.