Years ago, God asked me to say four short prayers as often as I thought of them: ‘open my eyes,’ ‘enlarge my heart,’ ‘use me’ and ‘rescue me’. I have prayed them literally thousands of times as I go through my day, while  sitting in planning meetings, counseling leaders or congregants, and even while teaching. Though short and simple, God has used each of the four prayers to help guide and grow me as a leader. Over the next few posts, I’ll write more in depth about each prayer. I encourage you to pick up God’s challenge to me by committing to pray each new prayer as often as you think of it.  Today we will dig into the first: open my eyes.

Open My Eyes

This prayer acknowledges the reality that we do not see everything. When we pray, “open my eyes,” we are asking God to “pull back the veil” and reveal His presence and work around us.

When our eyes are open, we see that God is everywhere, in everything, always. When our eyes are open, we see every day is brimming over with God: filled with His majesty, His activity and His miracles. When our eyes are open, we see every place, every person, every moment is imbued with the glory of God.

Open my eyes to see the Gospel in every person.

As leaders, it’s our responsibility to see people as God sees them. Every person is a walking billboard for the relevance and the power of the Gospel; When our eyes are open, we see the relevance of the gospel in those who don’t know Christ, and the power of the gospel in fellow believers.

Open my eyes to see the blessing in every hardship.

The Writer of Hebrews understood hardship as God’s tool to grow us:

Hebrews 12:7–11 — Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

The difficult things in our lives have been hand selected by God to grow us. This is a complicated perspective, but one we must embrace in our lives and leadership. We gain pain’s blessing only when our eyes are open to see it.

Open my eyes to see depth in every Scripture.

God has filled every verse in the Bible with layers of depth and meaning. Very often, we merely skim the surface and don’t find the deeper truths. When we ask God to open our eyes to the Scriptures, He unveils the hidden depths. This is a lifelong process of asking God to open and interpret the scriptures – the prayer ‘open my eyes will be rewarded with specific and valuable truths in different seasons.

Open my eyes to see Your glory in nature.

When our eyes are open, nature has much to show us. The pace of leadership makes it easy to lose the wonder of God’s creation in nature:

Psalm 19:1–6 –The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

We see God’s awesome vastness as we gaze upon a mountain or stare into the heavens. We see God’s carefulness and skill as we reflect upon the “lilies of the field” and the “birds of the air.” When our eyes are open, we see nature as a great prompt for our worship of God the Creator.

Ultimately, every version of the prayer ‘open my eyes,’ invites God to focus our attention on Him, in all the myriad ways that His presence is manifested among us. God is consistently gifting himself to us, and this simple prayer is the key to unwrapping that present.