Praying with Your Eyes Open
Praying with Your Eyes Open
At the end of 2015, we launched the ATCU’s Prayer’s Initiative 2016. As such, many of you have begun the process of praying for the various churches, institutions and fields within our union, etc. I am gladdened by this commitment especially when I consider how God directed in the selection of a given church or institution at the most appropriate week chosen before a given need or concern was known. We at the union could only remark that it was totally God’s doing.
Prayer is essential for growth and unity. Therefore, I urge that you keep praying and encourage others to do so as well. Accordingly, I thought to share with you an article of mine on prayer that was printed in the Message and Priority magazines entitled “Praying with Your Eyes Open.” However, I hasten to explain that I am not referring to one’s literal eyes but instead the opening of the mind to God as one communes with Him. This is praying with one’s eyes open. The thought is one I came across some years ago when I purchased a book with the same caption written by Dr. Richard Pratt, a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary. Essentially, the book helps one to see what is involved in prayer, and hence this article as I focus on prayer.
What Is Prayer?
For starts, I note that prayer is not a gift of the Holy Spirit, as it is not listed among the spiritual gifts found in 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4. I feel that it is for a good reason that God arranged it this way. It is no secret that there are some persons who believe that they cannot pray and should not pray, preferring to call upon others as such persons are perceived to be gifted. However, Ellen White, an inspired author, says, “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him --SC 93”. So simply put, prayer is communicating with God as to a friend, denoting a sense of intimacy that God desires with us. Is it any wonder that Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Our Father?” That speaks to a father-child relationship. An understanding of this lends to praying with one’s eyes open. So it is possible for anyone to come to God in prayer, for it is not our words that impress God but the contrite nature of our heart; and therefore any and everyone can get the attention of God.
Aspects of Prayer
In Psalm 54.2, we find three important points: the One to whom prayer ought to be directed, and that is God. Also, we find the one who ought to pray, and that is each human being; and what is involved in our prayers namely our words. Observe the passage, “Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.” Praying with our eyes open involves knowing to whom we address our prayer. It is not as the Pharisee who prayed thus within himself (Luke 18:11). Instead, it is like that of the Publican who prayed to God (Luke 18:13). Also, David explains that it is us, and not necessarily special Prayer Warriors praying to God; and this we do by our words (no negative thoughts intended regarding Prayer Warriors). We do not need to impress God, for He already knows our hearts. Through this passage, David helps us to understand that we have a God who is eager to have us come to Him. John Scriven, the old Hymn Writer, captured this idea when he penned, “What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear; What a privilege to carry everything to God in pray! O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
When Last Did You Pray with Your Eyes Open?
Praying with one’s eyes open is praying with the understanding and knowledge that God is not only our Creator, but that He is also our Friend. He is One in whom we can trust with any and everything. I know that this may not seem so, as some time there may be those who feel that their sins are so heinous that not even God can forgive. So many are misled and mistaken regarding God’s nature! I need not tell you that this is the work of the devil in getting us to harbor such negative thoughts. Truth is –we may come just as we are, for God will not reject or ignore one of a contrite heart as already noted. We need God, because without Him, we could not survive. And the good news is that He has made it possible through the means of prayer for all people to reach Him. So let us pray for our nation, as there seems no solution for crime and the fear of crime; let’s pray for those who lead our nation, for they need more than ordinary wisdom; let’s pray for our youth that they will make wise choices; let’s pray for abused spouses and children; let’s pray for the sick and afflicted; yes, let’s pray prayers of thanksgiving, for it is in praying that we begin to see God and understand His will and love for us.