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Can You Pray with Your Eyes Open? (Biblical Answer)

Of course you can pray with your eyes open. In fact, the Bible shows us that the people of God in the Bible prayed with their eyes open and looked up to heaven while they prayed.

Have you ever seen paintings of Jesus praying? I have. And every time it is Him bending near a rock with His hands folded, eyes closed, and head bent downward.

Although the picture is beautiful, it is not biblical. We never see Jesus looking downward, or even closing His eyes while praying. In fact, we always see Him looking up to heaven with His eyes open.

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You.” (John 17:1)

“Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.” (John 11:41)

If Jesus prayed with His eyes open looking up to heaven, then I think it is okay if we do the same. In fact, it appears to be more biblical to pray with your eyes open rather than closed, since Jesus, our Lord, is the One who prayed this way.

Now, I don’t think if someone closes their eyes they are less spiritual. The purpose of prayer is to draw near to God by yielding our hearts to Him. It is not so much about what we are doing physically or where we are physically, as it is about where our heart is spiritually.

Should you pray with your eyes open or closed?

It is up to you whether you want to pray with your eyes open or closed. The Bible reveals that traditionally, people of God prayed with their eyes opened looking up to heaven, but if you find that you are able to focus more when you have your eyes closed, then close your eyes. Prayer is not about our physical actions but about the posture of our hearts when we are praying.

Jesus addressed this issue when He quoted the Prophet Isaiah to the Pharisees, “‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” (Matthew 15:8-9)

It is not about what we say or do but about the posture of our hearts while we pray and worship God. If we are praying and our minds are focused on what we have to do when we get to work, or they wander to the vacation we are about to go on, then this brings God no pleasure.

God is not after our mouths. He is after our hearts. He wants a relationship with us, and if we instead just go through the motions to check off a box then we will not have a fruitful relationship with God.

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So when we pray, whatever helps us to stay focused and keep our eyes on Jesus, we should do. And whatever distracts us, we should avoid.

Some of you reading this may find it distracting to pray with your eyes open. Others will find it very easy to keep their minds on God when they pray this way. Neither one is right nor wrong because it is all about connecting with God and growing in relationship with Him.

I will say, however, I recently started praying with my eyes open and looking up to heaven. When I saw that this was how Jesus prayed I decided to try it out.

And it has helped me a lot! For me, when I close my eyes it enhances the wandering of my mind, and if I’m praying in the morning it makes me sleepy, so praying with my eyes looking up to heaven has been very beneficial to me in recent days.

But remember, it does not make a difference whether you pray with your eyes open or closed. There is no law in the Bible regarding physical posture or expression. The only law we have is love, and that is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” So whatever empowers us to do this better, we should do. And whatever hinders this, we should avoid.

What happens if you open your eyes during prayer?

If your heart is still drawn and connected to God, nothing happens if you open your eyes during prayer. However, if you open your eyes because your mind is wandering then your heart will surely wander as well.

I can imagine you can tell by now that prayer is not about where your physical eyes are placed, but about where your heart is.

The Bible says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). This is a promise from His word. And every promise is Yes and amen to the Glory of God through us (2 Corinthians 1:20).

We do not draw near to God through having our eyes opened or having our eyes closed but through sincere adoration and prayer to God.

And since we can have a sincere heart in our worship and prayer while our eyes are open it, therefore, makes no difference from God’s perspective if our eyes open during a prayer.

God desires our hearts to be near to Him. So whatever action causes our hearts to be closer to God, whether that is opening our eyes or closing them, we should do that action.

I hope you enjoyed this article and that it assisted you in your walk with God.

Here are some more articles on prayer that I think you’ll enjoy:

Can You Pray Lying Down? (Christian Answer)

Prayer Life of Jesus & How to Pray Like Him

7 Tips to Develop and Maintain a Consistent Prayer Life

How To Spend An Hour In Prayer (8 Helpful Tips)

God bless you all and enjoy!

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