I have a message I share called “Giving Our Children the World” about helping our children become world citizens who are missions-minded. One of the gifts we give our children is helping them learn how to pray with their eyes open.
- They can pray anywhere, any time. If their eyes are open, they can pray while they walk through a neighborhood, as they play with friends, or as they face the dreaded math problem on the whiteboard in front of the class. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 1 Chronicles 16:11)
- They can pray for the mission field in front of them. Our world is diverse. We often have nearly every nation in the world represented in our cities and neighborhoods and classrooms. (Jer. 22:3, James 5:16)
- They can pray as they read God’s word. Sometimes they can even pray God’s word. This helps our children learn that prayer is more than asking, but it includes praising, lamenting, honoring, and interceding for others. It involves praying beyond our family for the nation and for the world. It also helps them confess as the word convicts them of sin. It opens the door for them to pray for God’s help as they read the way they are to live as Christians. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, James 5:13)
- They can pray as they minister to others. While they are doing the acts of kindness and helping others, they can pray for wisdom, pray for the person’s needs they are helping in that moment, and pray for the Holy Spirit to give them the words they need to minister to the person in front of them. (Ephesians 6:18, Matthew 10:19, 1 Peter 3:15)
- They can pray while clearly seeing the needs around them. With eyes open, God can speak to their hearts and help them to notice something they may not have noticed before. They can allow the Holy Spirit to guide, direct, and protect them as they go through their days. (Ephesians 1:18, John 17:15)
- They can pray while looking at a map or globe. Helping our children pray for others around the world helps them to become aware of their needs, and it sometimes helps them become more grateful for what they have. It also opens their hearts to think outside themselves. (Mark 11:17, Matthew 5:44, 1 Peter 5:9)
- They can pray with their eyes fixed on Jesus. We teach them to pray with heads bowed, hands folded, and eyes closed so that they aren’t distracted and to show reverence for God. However, with eyes open, they can still turn their hearts to God, fixing their spiritual eyes on God and what he’s doing. Whether their eyes are open or closed, fixing their eyes on Jesus is always key to powerful prayer. (Hebrews 12, Jude 1:20-25)
We should all pray with open eyes connected to our open hearts.