I received a great question from one of our viewers: “Why do we have to close our eyes when we pray?” Let’s delve into that. Do we have to close our eyes when we pray? The short answer is no.

Jesus, Humble Petitioner

You don’t need to close your eyes for your prayer to be authentic and genuine. One reason for this is that Jesus himself often prayed with his eyes open. For instance, in John 11, when Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, it says he looked up and prayed, “Father, I thank you that you hear me.” He looked up, indicating his eyes were open.

Another example is before Jesus went to the cross. He looked up towards heaven and prayed, “Father, glorify me so that I might glorify you” (John 17:1). Again, he prayed with his eyes open. So, if Jesus could pray with his eyes open, we can too. There is nothing in the scripture that mandates praying with closed eyes.

Eyes Wide Shut

So why do we often close our eyes when we pray? The primary reason is to block out distractions. Closing our eyes helps us focus on God and our conversation with Him, rather than being distracted by our surroundings.

Bowing Before the King

Now, onto a bonus question: Do we have to fold our hands and bow our heads when we pray? The answer is also no. These actions are not necessary for prayer. Folding our hands, like closing our eyes, helps limit distractions by keeping our hands still. Bowing our heads is a gesture of humility, symbolizing respect and reverence, much like bowing before a king. However, it is not required for prayer.


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