My dad called and said he was ready to let go of a couple of items, and he thought I might want them. One is an embroidered picture my mother made as a Christmas present for him in the 1980s. It says, “Life is fragile. Handle with prayer.” It was an appropriate gift for my dad who has been a prayer warrior for years. His prayer life is an example of what it means to “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ,” (Galatians 6:2). The framed embroidered verse had been hanging over a chair in the basement of his and Esther’s home for the past 25 years.
The other item was the chair over which it hung. And that surprised me. The chair came from a branch of the First National Bank in a downtown location when I was in my teens. The bank was being remodeled by the company where dad worked. Whenever there was a remodel job and stuff was being thrown out for the newer and more updated, Dad would ask if he could salvage some of it. He brought home many a piece of so-called junk and found a use for it.
The chair was such a piece and in decent shape, so he brought it home and put it in his workshop behind our house on Arnoldtown Road. It became his prayer altar. Dad went to his shop each evening and had his nightly prayer time. It was as regular as the sun setting. He did not miss an evening. God was calling him to a prayer ministry, and he did not waver from his commitment.
The chair traveled to Shepherdsville in the late 1960s when we moved. Dad built another house and workshop. And the chair was placed in the rear of the shop where he prayed regularly.
Dad’s prayer ministry became well-known and quite eventful over the years. People often came to the house asking for counsel and prayer. Many times Dad took them to the garage where the person knelt at the chair. I had my own personal “praying through” experiences at that chair. I recall weeping there, pouring out my heart, and being aware of the presence of the Almighty.
When Dad remarried after my mother’s death, he took his chair and placed it in the basement of his and Esther’s home. And the people came there for prayer.
At that chair my dad gathered thousands of prayer requests people gave him over the years. Stacks of letters in envelopes, slips of paper, pictures of children and loved ones filled the area surrounding the chair that sat in the corner of his basement study with Mother’s embroidered artwork hanging above.
My dad knelt at that chair, too many times to count, calling out my name, Sweet William’s name, the names of my son and daughter-in-love, the names of the grandchildren, our familys’ names and names of people far and near. Dad loves to recount Revelations 5:8* explaining that there are containers in Heaven holding the prayers of the saints. He declares that he has filled a lot of those containers on behalf of those he loves and holds dear.
The chair became a sanctuary where dad met with God daily.
So it shocked me when dad asked if I wanted the chair now. I didn’t expect it to leave the house until dad left this earth and was in the presence of God. Dad explained that when he and Esther experienced the house fire in 2009, his prayer routine changed out of necessity while the house was being reconstructed. During the six months when he could not go to his basement office, he changed his prayer habit from the chair to another place. Now back in their house, he has arranged the many requests he receives at another altar so he can put his hands on them and pray over them each day.
Bill and I went to get the chair and the picture. There in the basement I moved things out of the way to bring the chair into the center of the room. It was a holy moment for me. Memories flooded and my thoughts swirled. The presence of the Lord seemed to hover near. It’s not that the chair is of itself holy or some sort of talisman. But it does represent a man meeting with his God. A simple man, a sinner saved by grace, a life that was changed to become the image-bearer of Christ. The influence of his prayers will be told in eternity. Christ who ever lives to intercede for His children called this man, my father, to a prayer ministry. And he has been faithful to it.
The chair is in my home now, sitting in my kitchen. I don’t really want anyone to casually sit in it. It’s not that kind of casual chair. It’s my dad’s prayer chair, the altar where he wept and prayed for many people over the years. Since relocating it to my home, I’ve knelt at the chair and I expect I will again.
The chair is a place where my dad met with God and where God met with my dad. It represents dad’s legacy, more valuable than any monetary inheritance he will leave me.
Dad’s prayers follow me. I am strengthened by them. God hears my name often throughout the day because my dad prays for me.
I want to leave a legacy for my children and my children’s children by becoming a woman of prayer, by believing God’s promises, and by being faithful to pray without ceasing. I have a way to go. At least I am on the journey.
*Revelations 5:8 – And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
How has prayer affected your life? Who prayed for you? Leave your memories here.