Pray with your eyes open/closed?

Discussion in 'Biblical Hermeneutics' started by Preacher of KJV, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. Preacher of KJV

    Preacher of KJV Active Member

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    Is it ok to pray with your eyes open? I always prayed with my eyes closed but someone told me they prayed with their eyes open because they didn't like closing their eyes and there is nothing in the Bible against leaving them open during this time....I think they should be closed out of respect, but I don't really know. Can someone provide answers? lol
  2. Zipster

    Zipster Captain Controversy Staff Member AY! Supporter

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    The Bible says very little about what to do when you pray; the clearest teaching on prayer is found in the gospels in Matthew 6 and in The Lord's Prayer - though, certainly other passages contribute, they do not seem as important as those two.

    Even with those other passages considered, we do not see a list of things that must be done when praying, but you see a variety of examples of things people do throughout scripture.

    This leads me to say that how you pray is a personal thing. The thing is that prayer is a bridge between you and God; it is the primary way of communication and it doesn't have to be in the least bit formal.

    There are some that would insist that praying should be done a certain way - however, such is contrary to the example set by scripture. If you feel comfortable with your eyes closed - and see that as an act of reverence and respect, then by all means close your eyes: but, the thing is not to push your manner of prayer onto others as the way to pray.

    I know some cultures pray with their face to the sky, because they want God to see their face when they pray. Other people prefer to be on their knees in prayer, signifying their submission and worship of Him. Some people fold their hands, while others raise their hands to God. Some prefer to pray in the Spirit, and others prefer to pray silently.

    As it is, I do not know anyone who does these things every time they pray; Scripture says that we are to "pray without ceasing." No one walks around with their hands in the sky, their eyes closed, crawling on their knees, or with their faces pointed to the sky all day.

    Pray as you see fit to pray. God is well aware of what's in your heart as you pray; he's aware if you're doing anything out of traditional formality, or if it's being done sincerely. We've all heard it said that you can pray anywhere. I think an important part of growing closer to God is acknowledging that prayer isn't always a formal thing that needs to be done - though, there are certainly times for formality.

    Just go to God as you are, when you are. You can sit, stand, run, lay, kneel, or whatever. I often pray as I lay in bed at night, and when I'm at work - always asking God for his grace. I will pray when I'm just sitting around, and sometimes it's as if I'm just having a normal conversation in the same way I would with anyone else - just sitting there casually and talking.

    So, pray as you wish to pray; just be sincere.
  3. Little princess

    Little princess God's Daughter Staff Member AY! Supporter Mentor

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    As far as I can tell, there is no specific instruction about whether or not people should pray with thier eyes open and closed. As such, I personally believe that it is okay to do either, depending on the situation.

    We are told to: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 [emphysis mine]).

    In other words, I feel that God is saying to pray about anything at anytime. Since we are instructed to pray as we go about our daily lives, there are a number of situations where praying with open eyes is necessary/beneficial. Here are just a few examples of times I have personally experienced:-

    I often talk to God when I'm driving and if I were to close my eyes when doing so, it would obviously endanger both my life and others. Also, if I'm standing in line for something it is necessary for my eyes to be open so I can move forward if necessary. Similarly, if I'm praying through a list of prayer requests then I need to have my eyes open so I can see who I'm meant to be praying for. Another example is journalling. Occassionally, I'll actually write down prayers in my journal to Christ. Again, I wouldn't be able to do this if my eyes were closed.

    However, I find if I am praying in a group it is often helpful for me to close my eyes (or at least lower them) so that I can focus on the prayers of others.

    I'd like to leave you with one of the most commonly quoted passages about prayer.

    "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:5-8).

    Prayer is a personal thing between you and God. Concequently, I believe that the exact manner people pray is also between them and God. The exact manner isn't specified in the Bible... Some people may like to kneel, some people may turn out the lights, some people may look up towards the sky while others may pray silently within thier heads. Different people communicate with their saviour in different ways but the most important thing is that communication is occuring. As such, I don't believe the issue is about "how" we pray but rather to "whom" we are praying.

    I hope this helps. I've typed it pretty quickly so hope it's not hard to follow.

    Your sister in Christ,
    Little Princess
  4. xspinningisfun

    xspinningisfun Well-Known Member

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    Praying is just a way of talking to God. I don't keep my eyes closed. I just don't like to. I don't feel that God is telling me that it's bad. I mean, he WANTS us to pray. He doesn't care how we do it. (Well, he does want us to be respectful...so don't be like, "Yo, GOD!" or whatever).

    I think that in group prayers, we should pray how we're comfortable in praying. For me, though, when I open my eyes, I"m distracted. And God doesn't want that. When we pray, he wants us to be totally focused on Him. So I try to close my eyes in group prayers (but sometimes fail!). And when it's only me and God, i keep my eyes open.

    I don't think either way is wrong. Unless you get distracted while praying...that's wrong!
  5. Preacher of KJV

    Preacher of KJV Active Member

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    I think distraction is the biggest thing. If there was a thank button, I would press it, nice post :)
  6. TehPanda

    TehPanda SuperManda Mentor

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    Probably about 99% of the time, I pray with my eyes open. I do not believe this is a sign of disrespect at all. There are no scriptures that state explicitly that one's eyes must be closed during prayer.

    Many times it is a cultural issue or a personal issue. I believe that part of the belief comes from the desire for humility in prayer. Being humble before God is an important thing. We are lowly creatures. Do we dare even deserve to come to the throne of grace? Many believe in praying with the attitude that we are "not worthy to even speak to God" that we dare bring our lowly selves to the presence of God.

    I am not saying there is anything wrong with being humble before God. However, there is a verse that states we are to come to the throne of grace with BOLDNESS. We shouldn't be ashamed that we are able to come to God. We should come knowing that we are forgiven children washed by the blood of Christ redeemed and sanctified and able to speak to the Almighty knowing that He will listen to us and knowing that we will get an answer -- even if it is the one we don't want to hear. Those are just promises of scripture.

    Sometimes the "eyes closed" thing is just a practical matter. Some people are just way too easily distracted -- all of us have a tendency to do this. It is easier to be "less distracted" for some people with eyes closed. For me, in an odd way -- that's MORE distracting to have my eyes closed. I don't like closing my eyes. Don't ask me why. I cannot explain it.

    In the Jewish faith, followers do not close their eyes when praying. In fact, it is the opposite. Usually, their eyes are open with their heads towards the heavens as if to look directly at God. This is a habit I actually have picked up myself. Some people wish to bow and focus inward as if to the God that lives in their hearts. There is NOTHING wrong with this. When I pray, I am actually kinda dramatic -- privately anyway. That is just something that is between me and God -- it's a wonderful thing! It works for me.

    Another thing to consider, some people pray while doing other things -- like in their car. It isn't really a good idea to drive with your eyes closed. :)

    A prayer is a personal thing. It's a conversation between you and God. It isn't between you and someone else and God. The way that you have that conversation is between you and God. No one has a right to come and give you rules about how to talk to your best friend on the phone. You may do it laying down -- standing up -- walking around. Is the way we converse with our Lord any different? It really shouldn't be. We should be comfortable, open to talk and open to listen. We should just be ourselves. If having your eyes closed helps you, do it. If it doesn't, don't do it.

    Amanda
  7. JesusPrincess

    JesusPrincess Light Destroys Darkness

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    It's fine either way. I mean, God really isn't gonna care if you close your eyes or not. I think it's done as a manners thing really, to show respect to other people or something. But either ways' fine.
  8. dreamergirl818

    dreamergirl818 God's Child

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    I agree with waht others have said, I don't think the Bible says anything about open or shut eyes. I usually like to close my eyes in prayer, because for me, doing so helps me to concentrate. But then, there are the many time when I really needed to talk to God but couldn't close my eyes-- like when I'm running (that would be a little dangerous) or when I'm driving (man, that would be DEADLY!!). So yeah, that's my take on it. I think it's best to close your eyes when you can, just to keep from being distracted, but really, it's up to you.

    To God be all glory!
    Elizabeth
  9. Preacher of KJV

    Preacher of KJV Active Member

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    I just wanted to say that when I'm talking about praying with your eyes open/closed I mean your alone time with God, like in church or when you wake up or go to bed. Not during the day because there's obviously times when you can't (as you have all stated). I should have been more specific :) I agree with Elizabeth though, as I keep my eyes closed to help me concentrate.

    Do we all at least agree heads should be bowed though? It'd make it a little freaky come invitation time if someone had their eyes open and head up (again, only during church/prayer time at home, not during the day).
  10. xspinningisfun

    xspinningisfun Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I usually keep my head bowed. :). But sometimes I don't. but usually I do :)
  11. TehPanda

    TehPanda SuperManda Mentor

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    Some people do concentrate or become less distracted with their eyes closed, but, for me personally, it's the opposite actually. I wouldn't agree that heads should be ALWAYS bowed. Like I said before, the Jewish practices included a head raised to the heavens. I am not sure it would be 'a little freaky' because prayer time is meant to be a conversation between you and God. What difference does it make what others are thinking about what you are doing? I know a guy that used to pray with a chair in front of him because it helped him see the face of God -- like talking to his best buddy sitting in that chair next to him. It may seem odd to some -- but it worked for him. If that helped me to be closer to God, then who am I to tell him to stop doing it? I lift my head up to the heavens. It's just a personal thing.

    Amanda
  12. Damaris

    Damaris Lovely Lady Staff Member

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    Different body postures have different implications. Praying with eyes closed and head bowed is mainly connected with reverence. Praying with eyes open and face turned upwards as in the attached picture reminds me more of either praise or open desperation. On our knees indicates humility while dancing around indicates joy and praise. You see, God is our King, but He is also our very close Friend; He is our master, yet also our brother. So at times it may be most appropriate to close our eyes, at other times it might be more appropriate to speak to him with our eyes open, just like at times it's appropriate to pray in whatever posture you're currently in, other time syou should need and still other times we might prostrate ourselves completely before God. A relationship with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is multi-dimensional, and I know there I times I personally feel compelled to pray with eyes wide open as I earnestly wait and watch for His answer. Moreover, when we plead with someone do we not look imploringly into their face as we speak? Why would I then constrain myself to a posture of subdued reverence when I am pleading whole-heartedly with the Lord on a certain matter without leaving myself the slightest thread of dignity? There are times to reverently honor God and there are times to desperantely cry out to Him with everything you have in you--those two attitudes are completely different; why shouldn't our physical posture and eyes reflect these two types of prayer differently?

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  13. ebaggabe

    ebaggabe New Member

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    Doesnt matter.

    :sing:It doesnt matter whether your eyes are open or closed. God just wants us to pray to him. He just wants us to communicate with him, you can do this through song, prayer, or reading the bible. You can do it with either.
  14. Cetacea

    Cetacea Member

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    For me I like to pray with my eyes closed to be completely concentrated on God. I also like to pray in silently. Even in church I usually don't pray aloud because I'm shy. The point is that you feel comfortable while coming in front of god, isn't it?

    What more important is, is that you pray seriously and honest. We should be upfront with god, there isn't much sense with trying to hide something from God anyway. He knows us in and out.
  15. Julia13

    Julia13 New Member

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    Personally I pray with my eyes closed. Not for any particular reason, but I just feel like I can concentrate more on the things I want to say/ask, than with my eyes open. Knowing me, I'd be looking around the whole time :wink:
  16. Hapsiperson

    Hapsiperson New Member

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    Very well put that's exactly it! There is only one thing God told us to do was lift holy hands. So it doesn't matter really if you close your eyes or not. If you kneel or stand. He only wants to have access to your spirit and fill it with his strength
  17. JennaBelle=)

    JennaBelle=) New Member

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    Personally for me, it depends, generally I pray with my eyes closed; but if I pray when I go for a jog then I'll pray with my eyes open...It could lead to catastrophe otherwise, and when I start driving later this year, I know that I shall pray with my eyes open while driving.... hopefully lol! =) If I'm not in a circumstance where I don't need my eyes open I prefer to have them shut because it help me focus fully on God, and block out distractions. Because knowing me, if I didn't have my eyes closed, I'd be looking around at what everyone else is doing... =)
    So yeah, that's my two bob's worth...

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