“I close my eyes in order to see.” ~ Paul Gauguin, painter

We are trained from an early age to close our eyes during prayer. This ritual/habit probably began with the idea of reverence for God — and shutting out the world and all immediate distraction in order to focus on the one who hears and answers prayer.

But thhere has always been a handful of people though who also remember the verse that says we are to “Watch and pray.” And to be “Watchful in prayer.” They say it means we should pray with our eyes open literally, to see God moving or speaking in the situation around us. Yes, I believe he speaks in the small, immediate surroundings. He is always speaking, and we miss him frequently because we fail to open our eyes to see him there, offering love or comfort of answers through a friend or happening.

Still there is something precious about closing our eyes in prayer and creating a kind of private sanctuary that is free from distractions that steal our focus.

I caught this photo turned into art in Ethiopia during a prayer time with some of the believers in a village. They are some of the poorest people in the world, yet they know how to close the world out, humble themselves before the hand of a mighty God, and touch heaven for the needs of earth. I felt honored to be in their presence. And at one point, their heartfelt intercessions were geared toward me and my family.

I knew they closed their eyes in order to see… to see with faith and call the things that are not, as if they already are…

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~ Hebrew 11:1

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