Have you ever wondered why do we pray with our eyes closed? Is it compulsory to close eyes when we pray? Prayer is one of the essential practices of Christianity and this post explores the reason why so many people close their eyes while praying.
Why do we pray to God?
Before we explore the reasons why we pray with our eyes closed, let us remind ourselves of what prayer is and why we pray in the first place. The word “Prayer” was coined from the Latin word “precari” which means to ask earnestly or to beg or to entreat. Prayer is a form of religious act or practice where a person communicates with an object of worship to seek their help, support, protection, etc.
Prayer can be an expression of gratitude also to an object of worship. Praying is an act of worship, and it is an integral part of many religions and culture, not just Christianity alone. Prayer is practiced in every religion but in different ways or through different mediums.
There are many rituals or routines people or religious group perform when they pray. Some people pray kneeling down. Muslims have a routine of kneeling and bowing down in specific directions when they pray. Some pray lying on the ground. And many more. But people praying with the eyes closed is peculiar to Christians.
As Christians, prayer is not just a routine or some religious rituals. It is an essential part of our worship. Jesus spoke of the importance of prayer in many places in the gospel books. In Luke 18, he told a parable to show why men should always pray and not lose heart or never give up. The Paul while writing to the Thessalonians wrote of the importance of prayer in 1 Thess. 5 verses 16-18:
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
There are many reasons why prayer is very important. Let us quickly list some of those reasons before we move to why we pray with our eyes closed.
- The first reason why we pray is that it is the will of God as seen in 1 Thess. 5 verses 16-18.
- The God instructs us in the Bible to pray.
- We also pray because Jesus prayed and gave us an example of how to pray.
- We pray to know God more and to draw closer to God.
- We pray out of gratitude to God.
- We pray to ask God for things, to seek his direction and guidance.
- We pray because we have faith in God that when we call on Him in prayers, He hears and answers us.
There are many more reasons we can mention but these one's summaries why we pray. So now, let us move to the real question, why do we close our eyes when we pray?
READ ALSO: Christian spiritual maturity quotes
Reasons why we pray with our eyes closed
Did the Bible instruct us always to close our eyes when we pray? The answer is no. The only thing Jesus told us about praying can be found in Matthew 6:5-6:
“Whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them. Truly I say to you; they have their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.”
And this is more of not trying to show off but instead genuinely praying from our heart not for people to see but from a desire to speak to God. There is no place in the Bible where it is clearly stated that we should close our eyes when we pray. But praying with our eyes closed, is very important for the following reasons.
1. To avoid distractions when we pray
The first reason why we close our eyes when we pray is to try to separate ourselves from our surroundings and every form of distractions so we can focus on our prayer. No matter where we are praying, whether it is in our private closet or a public meeting, there are many things that will inevitably distract us or try to take our attention and the only way to avoid them and focus on our prayer is to close our eyes while praying so that we can be focused and our hearts fixed on God while praying. And that takes us to the next point.
2. To quiet our minds and focus on God
When we pray, we want to do that with a quiet and clear mind so that we can fully focus on God. As we pray, we also meditate and try to listen to God speak to us. And that cannot be possible if we have a lot of things on our minds. So we close our eyes so we can focus on God, quiet our minds and fix our hearts on him.
3. To connect with God in the spirit realm
When we pray with our eyes closed, our physical eyes are closed, and we can transcend into the spirit realm. It is just like the way people try to do some form of meditation that makes them transcend beyond the physical realm. God is a spirit being, and when we close our eyes to pray, it gives us a sense of being drawn closer to God. It allows our spirit man to focus and connect with the spirit of God. Of course, our spirit is connected to God spirit even without our eyes closed, but in prayer, we are communicating with God more and connecting with him more.
4. To prevent the mind from wandering.
The mind can easily wander and closing our eyes helps us in preventing our hearts from wandering in the midst of prayers.
Although praying with our eyes closed is not a law and it is not compulsory, but it is a necessity for us to be effective when we pray. And with the eyes closed, we can choose to sit, stand, kneel or lie on the ground when we pray. But these are not the most important things. The most important thing when we pray is to praying from a genuine heart and an open heart. And also having the faith that God is able and willing to answer our prayers. And remember, pray without ceasing meaning pray always, make it a lifestyle because it is the will of God.
READ ALSO: What does 'daughter of Zion' mean?