I recently asked the church I pastor to “pray with your eyes open.” I want us to see the world as God sees it, and to become burdened with the people that God is concerned about.
I started praying-while-walking while living in Chicago. Instead of having just one time set-apart for prayer in a quiet place with my eyes closed, I felt that God wanted to open my heart up the people I dismiss or don’t really see. So as I walked around the city, I would pray, silently, for the people I saw. And God cracked open my heart as I prayed with my eyes open.
Since the Reformation, the ear-gate has been a primary avenue of worship. We listen to sermons and music as a way to worship. But in our highly visual culture it seems to me that the eye-gate is expanding as an avenue for worship.
Those in the sacramental traditions, with their deep aesthetic appreciation of how beauty leads us toward God, have always appreciated the eye as a gate to worship. I think we can learn a lot from our fellow brothers and sisters in that regard.
When the Apostle Paul prayed for the church in Ephesus, he asked God to “open the eyes of their heart.” There are times when God needs to open our heart and our eyes to the riches we have in Christ and to the world God loves enough to die for.
So I’m praying with my eyes open, and I’m asking God to help me to see my new neighbors as He sees them. And I’m praying that as God does this work of renewal in me, that my hands would open up in gestures of love to those I am learning to see with new eyes and a new heart.
Open hands with eyes wide open. That’s my new posture of prayer.