The Prayer Chair
Most would call it nothing more than a navy floral wingback chair but it’s more than that to me. The chair has a history. I can’t speak to its origin or where it may have been before it came to reside in my mother-in-law’s house but that’s where I first saw it. There was never a time when my husband and I visited my mother-in-law when she was not sitting in that wingback chair. I can picture her now with her beloved Chihuahua Susie in her lap watching television. Susie wasn’t the only dog to enjoy the comforts of that chair. I believe it would be safe to say the chair outlived at least three dogs!
The chair first adorned the living room. In fact, there were two of them with a lamp in between. Initially, both chairs had a light blue fabric but over the years the upholstering wore thin and required reupholstering. That’s when the facelift of a navy blue floral print came into play. One of the chairs graduated to the den but as the years progressed, it was pushed aside to accommodate an electronic easy chair to accommodate my mother-in-law’s mobility needs. I don’t know what happened to the other chair.
The day came when my mother-in-law could no longer live alone. She took her beautiful antique bedroom suit with her to the assisted living facility but had to leave behind much of the antique furniture. The thought of an estate sale sent chills down her spine so she chose to give away most of the furniture to my husband and sister-in-law. I reaped the benefits. Crystal and silver came along with one of the chairs, two chests, a spindle-headboard, a small desk, and a mirrored dresser.
I placed the chair in the corner of our second bedroom next to the window. The chair fit well with the new bed and dresser. I hung a small angel on the wall above the chair that read “Blessed are the pure in heart.” There was just enough room to squeeze in a nightstand. I placed a candle made from the flora identified in the Bible on the nightstand. The smell from the candle was heavenly.
I decided to make it my anointed chair, my “secret place” to “shut [my] door, and pray to [my] Father who is in secret” (Matthew 6:6). The candle and the angel seemed to make the corner more hallowed. I could come in the early morning, the quiet of the evening, or in the dead of night to lift my burdens from this place of anointing. The blue ottoman that came with the chair served as a welcome footstool. Other times it became an armrest as I kneeled before it in prayer.
I spent much time in my anointed chair when I was diagnosed with cancer. God and I talked about life, about healing and suffering, about memories. It was there God informed me about a ministry that was yet to come. He told me to start praying about what I would say when I spoke! What? A year later I began to get speaking engagements.
Over time the candle and flame lighter paraphernalia on the nightstand was enhanced with a palm-held cross molded to my hand and a small sheep in a cast position (feet in the air). The cast position was symbolic of a sheep needing to be rescued by its shepherd. I often held the sheep in my hand and prayed to be rescued during my cancer treatments. Through the years, I have poured out my heart in prayer taking hold of that sheep or the cross to remind me of God’s nearness, His ableness, and/or His sacrifice. Visions and inspired thoughts have occurred in that anointed chair; tears of joy and sadness have been wiped on the wing of that chair; journal writings have been posted in that chair, and whispers of God have directed or quieted my spirit in that chair. The chair has seen its share of joyful celebration and praise, too. The wings have cradled my head as I fell asleep while praying or crying or just meditating upon the mightiness of my Maker. Countless prayers have been prayed in that chair: prayers for friends who have made bad choices, prayers for friends needing healing from physical or mental issues, prayers for those in desperate circumstances, prayers for those in mourning, prayers for guidance in life, and so much more.
I may not have a prayer closet, but my prayer chair and I get along just fine. I think I’ll go and visit it now.