David lifted his eyes to the Lord in prayer
David lifted his eyes to the Lord in prayer. “To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!” (Psa 123:1)
David also wrote of the generation who seeks the Lord’s face. He spoke metaphorically to indicate that we are like gates or doors, which have the ability to open up and let the Lord come in or remain shut. “This is the generation of those who seek Him, Who seek Your face--even Jacob. Selah. Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is the King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O gates, And lift them up, O ancient doors, That the King of glory may come in! Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.” (Psa 24:6-10) If we gates want the Lord of hosts, the King of glory, to come in, then we are invited to lift up our heads.
Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20)
Jesus told us to lift up our heads in expectation of His return. "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luk 21:28). This is a way of loving the Lord with your strength, as well as your heart and mind. You change your whole posture to open up with joyful expectation for the Lord to come.
Sin Keeps Men from Lifting Up Their Face to God
Ezra told the Lord it was sin that kept him from lifting up his face to God. “And I said, ‘O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our iniquities have risen above our heads and our guilt has grown even to the heavens.’” (Ezr 9:6)
This was the reason the sinful tax collector would not lift up his eyes to heaven. "But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!' (Luk 18:13)
If there is sin in your life, you should not lift your eyes proudly to the Lord. You should humbly confess your sin, repent, and ask the Lord to forgive you. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1Jn 1:9)
Then you can lift your eyes once again in prayer, and come before the Lord with clean hands. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16)
Nebuchadnezzar raised his Eyes Toward Heaven
When king Nebuchadnezzar was judged by God for his great pride, he experienced seven years of living outdoors like an animal. He had the mind of an animal and could not rule his kingdom. The Scripture says, "Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws.” (Dan 4:33). I assume he could not even speak normally, but maybe grunted or growled or even howled.
But notice what happened at the end of that time. He himself testified, "But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. “ (Dan 4:34). He said, “I…raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me.” The Lord honored that one, simple act of humility and faith on his part. Then he blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him.
Our God is awesome. And when we will raise our eyes to Him in childlike faith, adoration, and total dependence, He takes notice.
Jesus Lifted His Eyes in Prayer
Jesus lifted His eyes to heaven in prayer. "Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept giving them to the disciples to set before the people." (Luk 9:16)
He didn't look down or stare at His navel when He prayed. “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You…’” (Joh 17:1)
Putting it All Together
Let me encourage you to lift up your face when you pray. This is pleasing to the Lord, when you come to Him with clean hands and a pure heart. As I've written about in my article called, The Link Between Two Realms, there is a definite link between the physical and spiritual realms.
Lift up your eyes to the Lord. He's the One from whom your help comes. David prayed this way, Ezra did also, and so did Jesus. The Bible teaches us to lift our heads up to God in prayer, and to love Him not only with all our heart and soul, but with all our strength, too.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. "Seek My Face" and "My Beloved Son" paintings © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist.
Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Lifting Hands in Prayer and The Link Between Two Realms. You may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Now I'd like to ask a very important question.
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.