Bow your heads and close your eyes

By Emily Owen, CWR

One of the best things about prayer is that there are no limits. 

I was brought up thinking that to pray you had to bow your head, clasp your hands and close your eyes. I don’t think someone ever told me this was the right way, but it’s just what we did – at school, at church, round the dinner table.  

I remember once sitting at my aunt’s table and my little cousin announcing, “Edward doesn’t close his eyes when he prays!” (Edward is my younger brother – we were about 4 and 6 years old at the time.) Throwing an amused glance at my mum, my aunt asked, “oh really? And how do you know that?” A sheepish look washed over my cousin’s face as he quietly replied, “Because I didn’t either.” It was funny – he thought he’d got my brother in trouble, and I thought he was in trouble too until I realised that my aunt wasn’t bothered. I learnt that day, you don’t have to close your eyes to pray.

Fast-forward 20 years and I’ve seen so many different ways of praying. I have a friend who can’t sit down when he prays, he paces the room loudly declaring praise to God and addressing Him boldly and directly. I’ve heard people shout “are you listening God?” I have a friend who always addresses God as ‘dad’ I have another who can’t pray out loud but has the most amazing personal prayer life. Jesus often withdrew to a quiet place alone to speak to His Father. I like to pray in the car – it’s quiet (ish) and gives me some alone time with God.

My point is, there are many different ways to pray to the God who listens.