Daily Word of Grace # 216 (April 9, 2021)
In his 1994 book Abba’s Child the late Brennan Manning recounts a story about an elderly man who was dying of cancer and had always struggled with prayer. Prayer just never “clicked” for him…until he heeded the advice of a friend who told him, “Sit down on a chair and place an empty chair in front of you and in faith see Jesus on the chair…Then just speak to Him and listen in the same way you’re doing with me right now.” This dying man began doing just that. It worked so well he started talking with Jesus in prayer several hours a day. He was careful never to do so in front of his daughter out of fear she would think he was crazy. However, he did share all this with a priest—and as Brennan Manning concludes: “The priest was deeply moved…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,’ the daughter replied, ‘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, kinda weird. Apparently just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed’” (125). That is what prayer, even prayer on one’s death bed, can look like because Jesus’ presence is very real, and because Jesus always listens to our prayers.
Love and Prayers,