Open the Eyes of My Heart
This song is a prayer that we each would benefit from praying each day. It is a prayer that the Lord would delight to hear coming from our lips and hearts, and would delight to answer. It would safeguard us from the trap that too many people who claim to seek God fall into.
The Pharisees were steeped in the Scriptures, having many, if not all of them memorized. Beyond this, they knew theology inside out. They had many rules and regulations that they developed which surpassed the Law God had given. For instance, since God had said to treat the Sabbath as holy and do no work, they had rules which qualified what “work” really meant. So, dragging a stick behind you as you walked was considered plowing—work. They determined how far you could walk and still not be working, etc. Since God wanted His people to tithe, they tithed everything, including the herbs that grew in their garden. They were fastidious in their following of the Law, and in the laws beyond the Law, which they themselves created.
All this was admirable, to a point. They were disciplined, structured, faithful, and very much revered (and feared) by the people, yet all this diligence and knowledge did not bring them close to God. Their hearts were hardened. They missed their Messiah, because, while their minds were full, their hearts were closed, hard, and dark.
Unfortunately, the spirit of the Pharisee is alive and well in the church today. While we are told by scripture to be diligent and faithful to study the word, we are also told “knowledge puffs up.” We can get so enamored by what we know, we can become proud. We can judge others who we feel know less, or do not follow our interpretations of what we see as “Law.” This judgment and harshness of heart against others is the very pride that drives us from God, just at the point we think we are standing for Him. I remember someone returning from a short term mission trip and testifying that “God taught me how to love unconditionally,” at the same time she was treating a former friend with great condemnation and distain. We can know much and do much for God and miss His heart entirely.
This is why we need this prayer. We need to ask Him to open the eyes of our heart to see Him. We need to see Him “high and lifted up,” exalted over all. We need to see His own heart for us, for mankind. Our vision of Him needs to go beyond chapter and verse and descriptions of His attributes we can ponder in our minds, and KNOW Him with our hearts, our emotions, and our experiences of His presence. We need to know His heart, what truly pleases Him.
As you read Scriptures, ask God to open the mind of your heart and show you His heart. Look for His deep desires as you read. For example, in many of the judgments and condemnations of the Old Testament prophets we can also see how much God does not want to lower the boom. He longs to show compassion. He pleads for them to repent and turn. He is longsuffering before He finally must chasten His people, and eager to have them return. These insights to our Lord-opened hearts will transform how we pray, and how we relate to others.
Ask Him to open the mind of your heart as you worship, that you would worship Him with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. Consider making this your daily prayer for this new year, and see what God does in transforming your relationship with Him in 2019.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries