When a preacher says, “Heads bowed and eyes closed,” I’m that rebel in Row 5 who often keeps one eye open.
Because I’m curious.
If the preacher tells us to bow our heads and close our eyes and then asks for people in the crowd to raise their hands to make a profession of faith, I want to see who raises their hands.
I want to see who to celebrate.
I want to see who to cheer for.
I want to see whose lives have been changed by Christ.
When I keep my eyes close, I miss something.
Case in point:
A few weeks ago, I attended a wonderful church camp with my 10-year-old son. We had invited one of his friends from his baseball team. I didn’t know if this kid was a Christian or not. I just knew he’d have a great time at camp — and have the chance to detox from all the video games these kids are playing. On the first night, during the worship time, the preacher asked everyone to bow their heads and close their eyes. And, surprisingly, I obeyed. While our eyes were closed, he asked the kids if anyone had accepted Christ and asked for a show of hands. I wanted to look, but, being one of the obedient adults in the room, I didn’t. When the preacher asked us to open our eyes, one of the other adults sponsors in our group — an apparently not-so-obedient fella — nudged me and whispered that my son’s friend had raised his hand.
UGH! I MISSED IT!!
But since my fellow sponsor had prayed with one eye open and saw the boy raise his hand, we were able to follow up with him immediately and pray with him. And, yes, my son’s friend made a commitment to Christ! Amen!
Now, before I get a load of emails, I understand that there are appropriate times for us to pray corporately with our eyes closed. And I imagine it gives people confidence to raise their hands when they believe others aren’t looking.
But people like me are curious. We want to see results. We want to see how Christ is working.
And if we see people make decisions for Christ, we can follow up with them, encourage them, and help disciple them.
Are you like me? Do you pray with one eye open?