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Closing one's eyes during prayer can be useful both as a means of removing visible outside distractions or barriers to concentration, and as a sign of humility in God's presence. For example, in his parable of the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18:9-14, Jesus mentioned the publican being so sorrowful for his sin that he did not even dare to lift up his eyes to heaven. Jesus also commanded his followers to go into their rooms and close the door before praying, but this was to contrast the offering of private prayer with the type of public prayer conducted primarily for display that Jesus condemned (Matthew 6:5-6). However, the closing of the eyes during prayer is not mandated by Scripture. One of the best things about prayer is the ability to communicate with God at any time, in whatever place or situation we may happen to be, and even without the necessity of spoken words (since God knows our thoughts, as well). On occasion, we might feel called upon to pray in a setting where it would not be polite or prudent to pray out loud (such as when talking with another person), or to close our eyes (such as when driving). (Also, as Paul said in Romans 8:26, even at our best, we do not know how to pray as we should, but depend on God the Holy Spirit to intercede with God the Father on our behalf, "with groanings too deep for words.") In my opinion, if even spoken words are not required for prayer, then the performance of an external action such as closing of the eyes or folding of the hands would not be, either. It is the content of our prayers, and the attitude with which we make them, that matter to God.
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