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Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - Printable Version

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Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - Don - 11-17-2011

A question from today's Blog topic:

[attachment=353]

Ok, new thought:
Why is it necessary to close one’s eyes during prayer? In the photo above these kids seem to be concentrating more on keeping their eyes tightly shut and keeping their hands together than actually praying. Why it is we teach our children to “close their eyes and bow their heads?
What purpose does it serve?
Does it make the prayer better?
Does it affect the prayer at all?

Every head bowed and every eye closed? Hungh? Why? So we don’t see all the movement going on on stage? Brother Piousmoneybags you pray (while we get ready for the next scene in today’s Kabuki Theatre.)

Feigned reverence?
Appearance of humility?

I really want to know why we hold to the closing our eyes during prayer? Do we talk to one another with our eyes closed and speak in King James Christianese? Why do we put on such a show for God? Why don’t we talk to him like we are talking to a dear loved one, say a Father or a mother.

/rant
*dismounts soapbox and sticks the landing* and the crowd groans at the East German Judge’s score.




RE: Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - Elijah Craig - 11-18-2011

None of that is necessary. Many of the Eastern Orthodox pray with eyes wide open.

It is social custom. If you're Western Euro in background, then the practice of praying with eyes closed, hands folded is deeply embedded in your culture. We're all products of our culture. Why would you not accept that which is "natural" to your culture? There can be vallid reasons, but they should be honestly held.

In our culture, praying with eyes open generally means you're peeking. The other cultures that pray with eyes open are looking to heaven, not at the other schmucks who are submissive.


RE: Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - senda wales - 11-18-2011

I'm reading a book about body language. The human brain has a number of automatic responses to various stimuli to prepare the body to react appropriately. Bowing is a universal display of respect or deference. Clasping your hands together and intertwining the fingers is a signal of low confidence and can indicate discomfort or anxiety. Closing one's eyes is a similar display of discomfort or stress.

Put together, I can see how adopting this position of prayer is a natural and culturally reinforced behavior of an individual approaching a higher authority with both reverence and anxiety. By enforcing this position, one can also CREATE internally a sense of deference and low confidence as we plead with a higher authority to listen.


RE: Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - Don - 11-18-2011

Which goes to the point I am wrestling with. Am I doing it for these reasons? Am I humble before the Lord or am I only doing what I have been programmed to do? Am I merely doing what is expected of me or do I see myself as one who is truly humble before my creator? At this moment I am honestly saying I do it out of habit. I have been trained to bow, kneel, close eyes and take a physical position of submission. But it is not out of true submission but merely a response to my training.

I know that none of this is necessary nor does it make a difference in my prayer. The attitude of my heart and my heart before the Lord far outweigh the position of my body, the angle of my head and the condition of my eyelids. For me, at this time I find doing these things to be a distraction in prayer rather than a help. I find myself stopping and questioning what I am doing in regards to position and attitude, especially when I begin to close my eyes and bow my head.

Just thought it would be worth discussing as to why we do some of the things we do.


(11-18-2011, 12:20 AM)senda wales Wrote: I'm reading a book about body language. The human brain has a number of automatic responses to various stimuli to prepare the body to react appropriately. Bowing is a universal display of respect or deference. Clasping your hands together and intertwining the fingers is a signal of low confidence and can indicate discomfort or anxiety. Closing one's eyes is a similar display of discomfort or stress.

Put together, I can see how adopting this position of prayer is a natural and culturally reinforced behavior of an individual approaching a higher authority with both reverence and anxiety. By enforcing this position, one can also CREATE internally a sense of deference and low confidence as we plead with a higher authority to listen.




RE: Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - senda wales - 11-18-2011

If/when I pray, I prefer to walk outside alone or drive in a car and simply talk out loud. This is when I feel the most genuine in speaking to the Lord. I don't know if it's humble, but it's honest. I will close my eyes during public prayers and bow my head slightly but I recognize this is out of social convention.


RE: Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - Elijah Craig - 11-18-2011

(11-18-2011, 12:55 AM)Don Wrote: Which goes to the point I am wrestling with. Am I doing it for these reasons? Am I humble before the Lord or am I only doing what I have been programmed to do? Am I merely doing what is expected of me or do I see myself as one who is truly humble before my creator?

Stop worrying about the mechanics. Just do what you feel.

If what you feel ain't right then ask the LORD to steer it that way.




RE: Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - myotch - 11-18-2011

Pray without ceasing....which would be pretty hard driving a car if yer eyes are closed.


RE: Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - zeusTHEgoose - 11-18-2011

As a child, I was always told we bowed our heads and closed our eyes as respect to God. When I became a teenager, I was told it limited any distractions during prayer. In college, people said kneeling with heads bowed and eyes closed was the position in which the body experiences the most rest. I wonder what I'll be told in the next age milestone Huh


RE: Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - senda wales - 11-18-2011

When Christ asked on the cross for his Father to forgive his killers, I'm pretty sure he didn't get a chance to kneel or hold his hands together. I think his prayer was still legitimate.


RE: Eyes Wide Shut or Eyes Wide Open? - Jeremy - 11-22-2011

(11-18-2011, 01:03 AM)senda wales Wrote: If/when I pray, I prefer to walk outside alone or drive in a car and simply talk out loud. This is when I feel the most genuine in speaking to the Lord. I don't know if it's humble, but it's honest. I will close my eyes during public prayers and bow my head slightly but I recognize this is out of social convention.

Pretty much feel the same way. Usually the only time I pray spontaneously is when I'm mad, and at that point no amount of bowing my head or closing my eyes would sanctify the words I use. Dodgy But God knows my heart, so I might as well verbalize it. I think that's the whole point of prayer anyway.