How Do I Pray?

by Arnold Nelson

     Years ago I received an E-Mail. It was on of those E-Mails you cannot forget. I decided to expand it and make a short story out of it.

     A few years ago a Preacher preached a sermon on how to pray. It went over well, Everyone like it. A couple of days later the Preacher was working in his office and there was a knock on his door. Come in the Preacher said. The door opened and an elderly gentleman walked in. The Preacher greeted him and asked the old man to have a seat.

     The gentleman was part of the congregation. Then Gentleman sat down. What can I do for you the Preacher asked when the old man got comfortable. The old man said Preacher, That was a fine sermon you preached Sunday. I have a question for you. The Preacher said okay I will answer it if I can. If not we will pray to God and he will give us the answer.

     The old man said That is the problem. I have been going to church for nigh on 65 years and I don't know how to pray. I listen to all the prayers in church and on those TV programs. They are full of beautiful words. When I try I don't know what to say.

    The Preacher looked at the gentleman for a minute and then he said I will make it as simple as I can for you. Set a chair next to you favorite chair. Then sit in your favorite chair. Then start talking to the chair as if your best friend was sitting there. Your best friend will be in that chair, God will be sitting in that chair listening to you."

     The man got a big smile on his face and said That sounds easy enough. I am going home right now and I will try it. The man stood up. The Preacher stood up. They shook hands and then the old man left. A few weeks later the Preacher was talking to the old man. The Preacher asked him How is the praying going?

     The old man got a big smile on his face and said Thank You very much Preacher. That was a fine suggestion you gave me and it is working great. I even found out God will talk to me if I keep silent a few minutes.

    The Preacher said Tell me about it. The old man said One day I was talking to God and I stopped to organize my thoughts and as I stopped talking God started to talk to me. I was so startled I didn't know what to do. Now when I talk to God every so often I listen and let God speak. The Preacher said That's great. That is a lesson for all of us. We all need to talk less and listen more.

     A few months later the old man got sick and was confined to his bed. His Granddaughter was taking care of him. The old man asked his granddaughter to put a chair next to the bed. The granddaughter thought it kind of strange that he wanted the chair there but she moved a chair there anyway.

    One day after the preacher got through with his visit. The granddaughter asked the preacher about it. The Preacher said That is privileged information between your grandfather and me. I can tell you the chair being there is a great comfort to him. You will have to get your answers from him, I am sorry.

    The granddaughter came in to the room one day and found her grandfather dead. When he died he was laying with his head on the chair. The granddaughter thought it was strange but said nothing to anyone else about it. She just rolled him back on the bed and started taking care of things.

    A few days later she was taking to the preacher she said When I found him his head was laying on the chair I thought it was strange so I put him back in bed and then called for help. What do make of it?

    The preacher said That is one of the most beautiful things I have heard in a long time. Then he wiped a tear from his eye. He said I wish I could tell you what it means but I can't that is something between your grandfather and me. Take my word for it, there is nothing strange about it. It is a very beautiful way to die.

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