Eyes Wide Open
Think about it. When someone says, “Let’s pray,” what do you do? Many of us instinctively close our eyes. If we do open our eyes during a prayer, we might feel a little anxiety that someone will “catch us.” For some reason, there is a general consensus that the proper posture of prayer is eyes closed.
Here is the shocking truth. There are many and varied postures for prayer taught and modeled in the Bible. Closing our eyes is not one of them.
As I read and reflected on passages throughout the Bible that speak directly or indirectly to the topic of prayer, I could not find one single passage where God calls someone to close their eyes when they pray. I did not even find a single place where the passage stated that someone closed their eyes when they prayed. I am not saying that people in the Bible or in the ancient world never closed their eyes when they prayed; what I am saying is that the Bible does not command it or even direct us to pray this way.
What we do find in the biblical text are examples of people praying with their eyes wide open. When Abraham’s servant went to Abraham’s hometown seeking a wife for Isaac, we find him standing by a spring, praying for God to make his journey successful. As he prayed, he saw Rebekah come out with a water jar on her shoulder. The passage is clear that he was praying with his eyes open, and during that prayer he saw the patriarch Isaac’s future wife (Gen. 24).
When Jesus lifted up what has been called his “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17, we read that “after Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed” (v. 1). The Savior’s eyes were wide open when he lifted up his longest prayer in all of the four Gospels.
There is never a call or command to close our eyes when we pray, but there are examples of people who prayed with their eyes open . . . and God heard and answered these prayers.
Praying with eyes wide open can become a lifestyle. This means shifting our thinking about prayer and at times literally keeping our eyes open when we pray. By making this small shift, we discover we can pray at all times and in all places. Try praying in three different situations today…with your eyes wide open.