Why do we close our eyes?

eyes open

by Heather Spring

I tried out an experiment on my husband the other day. I wondered what it would be like to keep my eyes open while kissing him. So, unbeknownst to him, I didn’t close my eyes. I’m not talking about taking a little peeky-peek here and there, I’m talking my eyes were open as WIDE AS CAN BE through the entire kiss. I think I just might know what you’re thinking: “You’re such a fun wife!” (Ladies, you should definitely try this one on your hubby! Spice things up, will ya?) But now that I’m thinking about it, he hasn’t really wanted to kiss me lately… hmmm…

So why do we close our eyes when we kiss?

I’ve read a few theories, but even scientists have tried to figure this out, and still don’t have a definitive answer. Some say when we close our eyes it eases the strong emotional pressure that we feel while kissing. Others believe closing our eyes is a natural response to something being that close to our eyes. From my now limited experience, I would have to add that seeing your love—pores magnified to the 1,000th degree, facial hair courser than you once imagined, and the merging of two eyes into one—is very distracting. (He still has the cutest eye I’ve ever seen.)

Another random thought for this Monday:  why do we close our eyes when we pray?

Why do you? Or do you?

I don’t always close my eyes. If I’m driving I definitely keep them open, you’re welcome. I have prayed at times while cooking, again eyes stay open. (*FYI: The time I caught my hair on fire was not because I was trying to cook and pray at the same time.)

Is praying with your eyes closed mandated in Scripture? Nope. I’ve looked, but never found a single verse that says, “Thine eyes must be closed whilst speaking to Jesus.” The Bible simply calls us to pray… and to pray without stopping (1 Thessalonians 5:17). If we only talked to God with our eyes closed and we strived to follow this command to begin an unending prayer, then we’d never get anything else done. But what the writer, Paul, is really calling us to is constant communication with God. With eyes open or closed.

There are times that something catches my eye and I have to talk to God about it. And with this sight He has given me I can “see” beyond this world and into needs that are much deeper than one’s skin. It’s truly an honor to experience “beyond-me” moments. And I pray, in that moment, for that need, for that soul, for His glory. But there are times in prayer that I NEED to close my eyes. It’s like going in for a kiss; it’s a natural response to close my eyes. It’s part of my response to living by faith. In Heaven, when my faith becomes sight, I’m quite certain I won’t ever feel the need to close my eyes while I’m talking to Him (that would be awkward for both of us). But here and now, I can’t see His face, or touch His hands, or feel His arms, or see His smile. I’m living in the “not yet”. So when I do talk to Him with my eyes closed, I can tune out the temporal things of this world for a moment and set my spiritual eyes on Him. Sometimes I like to close my eyes when I sing to Him. I like to picture the One I’m singing to. I like to imagine His face as I tell Him through song just how much He means to me. For me, it’s a form of setting my heart on Christ, and for this human being that has a heart that is prone to wander, I do what I can to direct my eyes and attention on the One I’m talking to or singing to.

So I close my eyes for my eyes to be opened.

There’s nothing like meditating on the images in Revelation that describe the throne room of God. Imagining my King, in all of His splendor, sitting high and exalted on His throne as I join the song that’s on constant repeat in Heaven: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND IS AND IS TO COME! (Revelation 4:8). My simple voice adding to the chorus of Heaven as a multitude of voices ring out adoration and praise to the One who’s worthy, yet hearing Him take notice, “I hear you, Heather. Keep singing, sweet girl!”

So as I close my eyes on this dreary, cool, I-can’t-believe-it’s-already-Monday morning, I’m filled up. My eyes are closed and my heart is open, as I fix my eyes on the One that loves me like no other. Who leads me on this path that has been set before me. Heart fixed on a God who became man and died for me. Who then defeated death so that I might live… really live. Who knows my name. Who knit me together in my mother’s womb and knew me intricately before my parents ever held me in their arms. Who knows what I’ve done in my past and not only still loves me… but likes me and invites me into a greater story.

So wherever you are today, continue your unending prayer. Or maybe you just need to begin one. Whatever your posture: kneeling, sitting, standing, lying down, eyes open, or eyes closed. And in your doing: walking, eating, drinking, cuddling, typing, organizing, working, wiping little noses, playing, driving, speaking, laughing, serving, loving, crying, or kissing with your eyes open…. may we accept the invitation to converse with the Creator of the Universe about all things.

Anyone have something I can be praying about today?

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6 thoughts on “Why do we close our eyes?

  1. We’ve been teaching our two year old daughter to pray. When we are praying with others, I’ve made a point NOT to say “we’re praying, close your eyes” but instead to say “we’re praying, let’s listen”. I want her to know that prayer is a conversation–even though she’s not quite sure who it is we’re talking to yet.

    • That’s awesome, Alicia! “We’re praying. let’s listen”… I LOVE that! Even if she doesn’t get it right away, if it’s something she hears over and over it’ll be a truth she comes to understand at the right time. – Heather

  2. When I am kissing my lady sometimes we close our eyes & sometimes we make eye contact. I honestly really like the eye contact. And I much prefer to pray with my eyes open. Prayer is conversation, right? How often do you get into a deep, intimate conversation with friend/hubby/family… while tightly shutting your eyes? I know many do to block out whats going on around them so they can concentrate. My prob there is I start to day dream! Lol. Part of my internal philosophy (I tend to over analyze & codify things, even if I eventually am indifferent about it) about keeping my eyes open during prayer is that when I close my eyes I am not escaping reality into the heavenly place (or you could say I am actually escaping TO reality), I am in both at once. This world is not a distraction, it is my field & calling. The Lord said he would never leave us nor forsake us. So when I pray & am seeing the world around me, I remember that He is with me always, not just when my eyes are closed trying to focus on him.

    • Rick, I’ve been on both sides before—praying with my eyes open and being distracted and praying with my eyes closed and being distracted… or even falling asleep while praying, “God, I love yyyy… cookies… hmmghsmhcs…” (*drifting into la la land). I love what you said, “this world is not a distraction.” That is my goal 😉 When we are in constant communion with Him it’s easier to view it this way! I wish that I could say that the things of this world do not distract me. There are things that vie for my attention, that lure me, and by His Spirit I thank Him for the moments that I see this world with His eyes and find myself loving the way He loves. The Holy Spirit is so good at revealing proper perspective. I’m thankful for the sanctification that is happening in this simple jar of clay. Thanks for your comment and thoughts, Rick! – Heather

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