Do We Have to Close Our Eyes When We Pray?

From Issue: Discovery 2/1/2009

Dear reader,

What an interesting question! The Bible mentions several prayer postures and positions. These include standing, kneeling, and lying down. The head may be bowed or looking up into the heavens. The hands may be uplifted, expecting to receive blessings from God. The Bible gives no direct instructions about these positions of the body. It appears that they are acceptable since they convey specific meaning. For example, kneeling shows submission. Bowing the head shows humility and respect. Falling on one’s face would show complete dependency. If the person is sincere, and not trying to “put on a show” or impress others, these positions are acceptable.

But what about our eyes when we pray? On two occasions, when Jesus prayed to the Father, He lifted up His eyes to heaven (John 11:41; 17:1). On the other hand, when the tax collector prayed, he “would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven” (Luke 18:13). So the Bible simply does not specify whether our eyes are to be closed or open. Most people probably close their eyes so that they are not distracted by movement around them, enabling them to concentrate better on the prayer. The important thing is to pray with the right attitude and in harmony with God’s will (James 5:13-15).


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