Blog by Jacqui – One of God’s Intercessors
“This will be hard for me”, she said emphatically. “I’m afraid I’ll get distracted and my thoughts will wander off.” I had just told our prayer team, that where we are going, we will need to pray with our eyes wide open when we are outside.
In America, when we pray in public places we can still pray with heads bowed and eyes closed. We can even hold hands during the prayer. Most of the time we are not at risk to pray this way. But, that is not true in other places around the world. Would you have thought about the act of praying relating to the culture?
To be honest, the first time I went to the mission field on a prayer team, neither did I. We got ready and I assumed the traditional ‘prayer position’. So did the rest of the team. Then, our field host asked us, “Why are you praying with your eyes closed?” He said, “Here you must pray with your eyes open.”
Really? Eyes open, looking ahead or even around us while praying? Didn’t that break some type of ‘prayer rule’? That was my first experience with the cultural side of prayer. Thankfully, prayer and our connection with God in prayer is still very much the same no matter where we are praying. The posture may be different and sometimes eyes must be open for safety reasons within that culture, but we are still talking to God. God is still listening.
As I think about this today, as I prepare to leave for the mission field in a few days, I realize this is good. Prayer doesn’t need to be about a certain posture or a specific way to say a prayer. Prayer is coming to our Lord and opening our hearts to him. We may lay our deepest concerns and our smallest worries before him. He handles both. We may lay our burdens at the foot of his throne with heads bowed or looking around as we walk from place to place.
Honestly, it seems right and good to Praise the Lord in prayer with our eyes open and hands lifted high. But, when it’s not safe to raise our hands, God still sees our hearts. He still hears the joy within our voices whether we are someplace we can pray aloud or even if we are someplace that only God will hear a pray that is spoken within our thoughts.
I believe God answers prayer – even when we pray with our eyes are wide open!