ALL EYES CLOSED! IT’S TIME TO PRAY. (1)

Hello wonderful people!

How about we take a little ride through Doctrine Lane today and consider why we close our eyes in prayer?


In most Christian gatherings, we close (or are told to close) our eyes during prayer sessions. Even when it’s a private/individual prayer, we tend to shut them by default. However, have you ever asked yourself or anyone why that’s the case or do we simply do so because of the that’s-how-it’s-always-been- done factor?

JUST A TRADITION?

My curiosity as to why we close our eyes when we pray prompted me to look for answers in the scriptures. And to my surprise, I found no biblical precedence for it – not one! The only explanation I could advance on the subject is that, somehow, way back in time, the practise came to be a tradition of the church.

That tradition must have begun in the distant past in the history of the church and has come to be generally accepted as the standard mode for prayer. Meanwhile, the term ‘tradition’ refers to a ‘long-established action or pattern of behaviour that has come to be accepted by members of a group and has been handed down from generation to generation’.

So the act of closing the eyes in prayer is merely a tradition. Do we then disregard the practise because it’s simply rooted in tradition and doesn’t have a basis in the scriptures? Not necessarily. For all it’s worth, not all extra biblical traditions sustained by the church are bad. In fact, some of such traditions, when well incorporated tend to strengthen and enliven the system.

According to Stephen Bearle, ‘tradition is strengthened by understanding it, engaging and entering into dialogue with it’. Hence, since we can’t establish a biblical precedence for the practise/tradition, we should investigate it to see its necessity and significance.

MEN STRIKE DIFFERENT POSITIONS IN PRAYER

As we earlier pointed out, there is no biblical instruction for believers to close their eyes while praying. Jesus spent time teaching on prayer but didn’t instruct that we close our eyes while praying. However, from the scriptures, we observe that men assumed various positions while praying. For instance, we see that men prayed standing (Mark 11:25), lifting hands (1Tim 2:8), sitting (2Sam 7:18), hands outstretched (1Kings 8:54), lifting up the head (John 17:1), kneeling (1Kings 8:54), lying flat (Matt 26:38-39)…

In prayer, we make requests, express desires, change the course of things, fellowship with God, make power available for situations, and get trained spiritually. Basically, when we pray, we are in communion with God for different reasons. The question is must we (always) close our eyes when we do so?

WHAT DO BIBLE SCHORLARS HAVE TO SAY?

A number of bible commentators seem to advance that the practise of closing one’s eyes while praying can be traced back to what the etiquette was in ancient times, when a subject comes before a king. During that period, when appearing before a ruler, you dare not look him in the face. Instead, you close your eyes or at best – depending on your status – look downwards. Therefore, since God is known to be the king over all kings, these well-meaning folks simply decided that such display of ‘reverence’ should also be evident while communicating with Him hence, praying with eyes closed.

Although they have noble intentions, their reason does not hold water. We serve a God who wants a relationship with us. He is not only our father but also our friend. What kind of friendship demands that a friend be in a state of fear to communicate with another friend? Interestingly, God instructs the believer to come boldly to the throne of grace because there is no fear in love. Of course, our God is worthy of all honour. However, closing of the eye doesn’t necessarily imply that we are in a state of reverence. We reverence Him from/with our hearts.

One fantastic explanation also suggests that since God lives in a spiritual/supernatural realm, one cannot approach nor have an experience of Him in this physical world, especially with eyes opened. Hence, the need to close the eyes in order to disconnect oneself from this world and try to be a part of a celestial world where He can be found. No other explanation can be more ‘interesting’ than this. First, God is Spirit. Also, those who worship and minister to Him do so in the Spirit. It’s therefore amusing when a fellow thinks he can manipulate the sense organs in order to catch a glimpse of Him.

One who thinks God has a special abode somewhere in space, in the supernatural realm needs to upgrade his knowledge of God. God has taken residence in the heart of the believer. The body of the man who is saved is the temple of God – that’s where God dwells. Such a one therefore doesn’t need to assume a particular mood or close his eyes ‘in order to be where God is’.


Stay stunned for the concluding part of this exposition tomorrow.


Image Credit: GIPHY

Advertisements

30 thoughts on “ALL EYES CLOSED! IT’S TIME TO PRAY. (1)

  1. Great post! This is a great reminder that God looks at our hearts, not our outward appearance. I used to think I had to be in a certain position to pray but now I’ve learned that I can talk to God anywhere, even while I’m driving down the street. I definitely can’t close my eyes and get on my knees while I’m driving lol. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was told that we need to close our eyes because of distractions. But I believe that praying to God has no rules. If we want we can close our eyes or open them. The most important thing is to connected with Him in spirit. Thanks for sharing this interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks always for your profound thoughts/contributions. Very true, many of the things we do today (in Christendom) are based on norms. Whether we close our eyes or not cannot be the issue. What is key is that our hearts/spirits are in tune with God in prayer.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There is that school of thought that we close our eyes not to be distracted by the things around us. On the contrary for me, sometimes when I close my eyes I’m actually bombarded with very very distracting things. So I’m not bound to the tradition. I could close or open my eyes but what matters is whether my prayer is genuine. Greta post Ayansola!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re absolutely right Winnie. I for one tend to lose concentration in prayer with my eyes closed. It seems like different funny thoughts just find their way into my mind. As long as I’m praying effectively, I don’t bother if my eyes are closed or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post. There were times when I will close my eyes to pray just before eating and I’ll be asked why I am closing my eyes? What if someone puts something in my food? Like you mentioned, these are traditions that we have been embedded in our way of living. Looking at my life now, I pray with my eyes opened and closed. God is present wherever we go. He looks at our hearts. He sees and knows all things. I love the title of this post 👌🏿

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your profound contribution Karen. The analogy you used made me laugh by the way. You summed it up real good – God looks at our hearts. As for the title, trust me, I have issues with coming up with titles. Sometimes, I spend a longer time thinking of a befitting title to a post I already wrote. I’m glad this title resonates with you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m telling you when it comes to titles too, it’s a struggle. Sometimes, I have to even make sure that I didn’t use the same title in a previous post. Maybe I need to sit one day and just randomly write titles so when time comes, one will be fitting for a post. I really enjoyed this post. It’s actually something that’s not talked about much. So awesome job 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great thoughts but then come to think of it while we pray and open our eyes we tend to see everything . we see those who are not praying , we see those who are talking etc . all of this can make us lose focus on what we were actually doing. Have noticed that when I pray with eyes opened I am usually distracted but once my eyes are shut I tend to focus more on the inside and pray fervently without no form of distraction . in order to avoid distractions I close my eye ,sometimes lift my hands or sit. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 👌We are on the same page Blessing. When it comes to the suitability of closing the eye in prayer, it’s different strokes for different folks. I for one pray more with my eyes opened because I do a lot of pacing when I pray. Besides, my mind tend to drift off and think of other things when I close my eyes. Hence, each fellow should stick to what works best for him and not just do so because it’s what he has been told to do. I do appreciate your contribution.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow that’s true too …its a constant fight you know …even with my eyes closed different thoughts comes into my mind but I constantly consciously fight it ….

        Just so you know I would reply to your email…so watch out for it

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Loll. I can so relate. It’s amazing how we have boxed God in.
    But hey, God is our friend, we can be so relaxed (our friend) yet referential (our father) before Him. So the best is go with the leading within.

    I love this. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You go fear summation – apt as always. You are absolutely right ‘Anu’! 😉 I appreciate your profound contributions.

      Meanwhile, where on earth have you been? You think you can just go awol on us like that and not pay fine😒. It’s good to have you back. Was a little bothered about your absence. I dropped a message on your fb platform to that effect.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s