Daily Riches: Prayer and the Empty Chair (Anthony de Mello, D. L. Moody)

“I [heard] the story of a priest who went to visit a patient in his home. He noticed an empty chair at the patient’s bedside and asked what it was doing there. The patient said, ‘I had placed Jesus on that chair and was talking to him before you arrived…. For years I found it extremely difficult to pray until a friend explained to me that prayer was a matter of talking to Jesus. He told me to place an empty chair nearby, to imagine Jesus sitting on that chair, and to speak with him and listen to what he says to me in reply. I’ve had no difficulty praying ever since.’ Some days later … the daughter of the patient came to the rectory to inform the priest that her father had died. She said, ‘I left him alone for a couple of hours. He seemed so peaceful. When I got back to the room I found him dead. I noticed a strange thing, though: his head was resting not on the bed but on a chair that was beside his bed.’

“Imagine that Jesus is by your side all through the day. Speak with him frequently in the midst of your occupations. Sometimes all you will be able to do is glance at him, communicate with him without words…. Saint Teresa, who was a great advocate of this form of prayer, promises that it will not be long before the person who prays in this way will experience intense union with the Lord. People sometimes ask me how they can meet the Risen Lord in their lives. I know of no better way to suggest to them than this one.” Anthony de Mello

“A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. His is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is He Himself we have.” D. L. Moody

“you are my friends….”
Jesus in John 15:15

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you have a “method” to make God “very present” in prayer?
  • Can you let yourself do something as simple as the “empty chair?”
  • When you think of Christ, is it first as the focus of doctrine or creed, or as a “personal friend?” Does it matter?

Jesus, please make yourself very real to me when I pray.

For More: Sadhana by Anthony de Mello


These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”