Once I was leading a group of children in prayer. I bowed my head and closed my eyes when I heard a loud shout: “She is not closing her eyes!” I opened my eyes to see one child pointing an accusing finger at another.
We close our eyes so as to not be distracted. It is easy to think about the things you are seeing around you rather than thinking about God. Prayer is talking to God, who is a Spirit. We shut out material things for a moment to focus on God. But you don’t have to shut your eyes to pray! Many of the paintings of Jesus in Gethsemane show his gaze up toward our Father in heaven.
I lived for several years in Pollocksville, North Carolina, a small town that is laid out in a large block. We would walk around the outskirts of the town for exercise; the streets were laid out perfectly to make a practical walking track. One morning I saw Alberta walking toward me. He was walking along talking. As I approached her she nodded, but kept on going. Alberta was quite a talker. I was surprised she didn’t stop and talk with me. As I kept walking, it occurred to me what was happening. Alberta didn’t stop and talk to me that morning because she was talking to God! She didn’t close her eyes. She didn’t sit still. She was praying. She was walking, talking, pouring out her heart to our heavenly Father!