The Empty Chair (reprise)

An earlier poem – The Empty Chair – was inspired by a prayer method which simply requires one to imagine Jesus sitting on a chair across from you. Using the power of our imagination to let the Spirit take over, and allow Jesus to be with us, especially without the limitation of words…

This poem uses a different tone to express something of the power of this technique and also the essence of what prayer is…

Welcome Jesus! Come right in:

Welcome my Lord and Saviour!

I hope it’s OK for You, that chair;

After all, You being a carpenter.


How great to be in Your company!

I know of course You’re always here,

Closer to me than the heart of me.

My fault, that You just now ‘appear’.


If I could see what’s really there:

Remove my blinkered sin-sloth view,

And in the Spirit gaze afresh, to

Realise the welcome is from You!


It is Your time, Your gift, Your move,

Your welcome, Your love, Your chair.

In my unheeding head I think it’s me,

That bigly makes the time for prayer.


Great gift of faith: ultimate privilege!

To know that – God – welcomes me;

Is warmly desirous to spend His time,

Among all Creation, in my company!


Yet I fear to look You in the eye;

My sweet Lord, I love You dearly,

But might You face me with my sin,

That I then see myself more clearly?


Cowering from You, our loving Father,

And from You Jesus, kindest brother!

Oh vicious wage of sin: to hide from You

Hurting, and then to hurt one another!


Is there always such risk in prayer?

A cost coming face to face with You?

Is this why so much prayer is ‘safe’,

Lest You might transform us anew?


Yet here You sit, just… smiling at me!

Dare I chance to engage such glance?

Oh Jesus! Far harder to stay Mary-like,

Than jump up in Martha-servience.


You look… at me? You look at me!

I mumble and chatter in awkwardness.

I want to express such eloquent praise,

Yet pour out my soul in guilt-confess.


Hush my soul! Cease from babbling…

Across this space, no words are needed.

Hold His gaze, albeit with fearful heart:

Look on Him whose wounds raw bleeded.


There is power in this mutual sitting:

To absorb Your warmth like Son-bathing.

‘Remain in Me’, to draw Your strength,

Divinely bronzed, aglow for witnessing.


The empty chair… is filled with grace.

We Christians often find prayer too arid:

Does this sacred encounter perhaps

Give You rare chance to be incarnated?