Ok, who is it that decided that we have to close our eyes when we pray. It’s bad enough that they told us to fold our hands and sit still, but to throw in the whole eyes closed thing. Come on! We need to find out who this was because we need to complain.
You see, this guy is responsible for the downfall of Christianity. Yes, the very disintegration of a major world religion lies at his feet. Seriously, think of all the things you can’t do while praying with your eyes closed!
Ok, so this does sound like a rant, but it is with good reason. It’s because of all the things that you can’t do while praying with your eyes closed, that gives folks a good excuse not to pray! If you can’t close your eyes while driving, then you can’t pray while driving. (Though, it is conceivable that many folks pray while others are driving.) You can see where I’m going with this one . . .
The Apostle Paul has an interesting mix of requests for the early Christians in Colossae. Check this out:
Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don’t forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I’m locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I’ll be able to make Christ plain as day to them. Colossians 4:1-4 The Message
See how the “Eyes Closed” guy makes it impossible to follow Paul’s direction? First Paul says “pray diligently” then he says to “Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude”, then he says “Don’t forget to pray for us”. If the whole “Eyes Closed” thing was the rule back in the first century, then Paul would be guilty of causing whiplash.
I think the “Eyes Closed” thing is a recent heresy, designed by mean old Sunday school teachers and cranky old preachers, as a tool to get wiggly boys to sit still for at least part of church. They were short sighted though, (wait, that’s funny: Eye’s closed – Short sighted . . . What was my point? Oh yeah) because prayer works better when it is an active devotion, rather than a passive one. It’s more effective if there’s a little wiggling with eyes open; if you’re out there in the real world doing something while you’re praying. That’s what Paul encourages us to do.
So do pray diligently and do it with your eyes open, your feet moving, and your hands reaching out to those around you.
And wink at that cranky old preacher!
Pressing on toward the goal . . .