Pray with Your Eyes Open

by Violet Nesdoly – first published as “Pray with your Eyes Open”, January 29, 2007

Oh my! I’m sure if my primary Sunday School teacher read that, she’d try to bust out of her grave – considering the way she drilled into us: “Close your eyes when you pray!” However, the section of 1 Peter that I’ve picked out as my verse(s) for the year begins, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.”

Sounds like open eyes to me.

So lately I’ve been asking myself, exactly how is one ‘watchful in prayers.’ Here’s an incomplete list of things I’ve thought of:

1. Look at the day ahead of you and your family. Pray for things like protection during travel, help with tests and interviews, guidance during shopping, creativity during housekeeping (and joy during cleaning?) etc.

2. Pray similarly for your church family. If you’ve heard rumblings of discontent, pray for church unity and leadership wisdom.

3. Cover missionary friends and family with prayers for protection from diseases, unsafe political environments, discouragement, marital discord etc.

4. Read reports from organizations that track the persecuted church (like Voice of the Martyrs). You’ll be alerted to incidents the secular press never reports on. I find this also gives me an overview of global trends. For example, whereas the great resistor of the Gospel formerly was Communism, now it is Islam.

5. While watching/listening to/reading the news, notice things to pray about on global and local levels.

6. Also read your local paper with your prayer antennae up. Take note of crime trends, note local issues and specific challenges facing your mayor, council, police etc. and pray about those.

7. Don’t forget to pray for members of the media (or against them?!). Seriously, the belief biases of talk show hosts, news anchors, and reporters (not to speak of sit-com writers) are thinly veiled if at all and have great influence (how do you think same-sex marriage went from being unthinkable to being accepted by a near majority of Canadians?). Pray for the salvation of media personnel and that godly people will find employment in mainstream media.

Like I said, an incomplete list but a start. And come to think of it, if I explained this kind of “eyes open” praying to my former teacher, I’m sure she’d heartily agree.