I pray in my car, perhaps not as hard as my wife does, when I’m driving. I like praying while walking or out cycling in the Ayrshire hills. Obviously, such prayer requires eyes wide open, otherwise (unless visually impaired) you’ll be a danger to yourself and others. Open-eyed prayer offers much material for God talk!
We short-change our children, if we only teach them to pray with ‘hands clasped and eyes closed’? With eyes closed it’s good to shut out distractions to focus on God, but if that’s the only way we pray we miss a wonderful world of eye opening prayer and communion with God!
‘Eyes Shut’ and ‘Eyes Open’ prayers are both important. As snowdrops and other blooms appear there’s much to encourage praying eyes and hearts. All around sap is rising in branch and plant, and with it grows trust in God’s ability to nurture new life in & through us too.
“Lord, as hidden seeds and bulbs prepare to show through dark soil, may new life be ready to burst through our selfishness in sacrificial acts of loving kindness, fanning the brightness and beauty of New Life in Christ to all around. Open eyes and hearts to realise how much You love them, that You, Lord Jesus, were buried to bring bloom and blessing into and through their lives!”
Passing people, while out exercising, I often pray for them, especially if they look weary and wabbit, “Lord bless them!”And it’s important to lookout for answers to prayer. Sometimes one’s able to follow up a smile and prayers for strangers with further kindness in a gentle chat and encouragement.
And we need to have eyes open for answers to prayers. Remember the bloke who drowned refusing help from a helicopter, rowing boat and dinghy, because he was still waiting for God to answer his prayers and save him. “Why didn’t you save me!?” he asked God in heaven. “I tried three times!” answers God. A group were desperately praying at a bus stop for a bus to get them to their destination on time, praying so hard with ‘eyes shut’ that their bus went flying by them!
Oh, to pray and praise like the psalm writers and prophets whose “hills skip like lambs” and hear “trees clap their hands”, alert to God everywhere, in everything: praying and praising with eyes wide open. “Dear God, teach me to pray with eyes of faith, Wide, Wide Open!”