“O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel.” Nehemiah 1:5-6
A couple of days ago I was processing the idea of ‘open my eyes’ prayers and I came across another aspect of those prayers – the ‘open YOUR ears and open YOUR eyes’ prayers lifted to the Lord.
In a sense God gives freedom to pray this as He reveals this aspect of Himself in Exodus 3:7-10.
“The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey — the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
The Lord so clearly reveals that he hears, he sees, he cares, and he acts out of His compassion. He is NOT a distant ‘I’ve set the clock in motion and good luck to you all’ kind of God.
Solomon offered a dedicatory prayer after the building of the temple in which he asked “May your eyes be opened toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place” 2nd Chronicles 6:20. And God responds “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” 2nd Chronicles 7:15.
God’s people capitalize on this promise of God. Later, when King Hezekiah receives a threatening letter from Sennacherib, King of Assyria, Hezekiah’s response is to take the letter to the temple and spread it out before the Lord. His prayer is simple and straightforward “Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to all the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God” Isaiah 37:17. And God responds and Sennacherib falls.
Just a short while later Hezekiah lays ill and gets word from the prophet Isaiah that God says he will die from this illness. Hezekiah, evidently too ill to go to the temple, turns his face to the wall and prays reminding God of his faithful walk and weeps bitterly. The Lord responds through Isaiah saying to Hezekiah “…I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. Isaiah 38:5”
There are times in life when it feels like God has gone deaf or blind. Scripture has shown me that an appeal to him to ‘open your eyes and see; open your ears and hear’ is not insulting or disparaging. It is a prayer to which he responds in his time and in his way because hearing and seeing is part of his nature.
“Lord God, there are things in my life and the lives of those I love right now that puzzle me. Apparent areas of attack and confusion that just shouldn’t be. Lord, open your eyes to see the truth of what is happening. Lord open your ears to hear the prayers seeking your help and discernment. Give your servants guidance and send your help. I pray this in reverence of your holy Name!”
For further study: Exodus 2:24,25; Exodus 3:7-10; 2 Kings 9:16; 2 Chronicles 6:20,40; 2 Chronicles 7:15; Nehemiah 1:6; Isaiah 37:17; Isaiah 38:4,5; Daniel 9:17,18