By Rev. David and Lauren Bass
“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. ‘Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?’ the servant asked. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ the prophet answered. ‘Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ And Elisha prayed, ‘Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” 2 Kings 6:15-17, NIV
In 2 Kings 6:8-23, we read that an army from Aram has surrounded the city where the prophet Elisha and his servant are staying. Elisha has been foiling the plans of the king of Aram, and the army has been sent to capture him. Twice in this passage Elisha prays a prayer that has come to be meaningful for me in this season of life and ministry: “Lord, open their eyes.”
First, he prays it for his servant. The servant wakes up, sees the army surrounding them, and is afraid. But Elisha prays to God, “Lord, open the servant’s eyes.” The servant can now perceive that there is a heavenly army surrounding them. He can also perceive a new spiritual reality: God was in control the whole time. Even as the army of the enemy gathered in the night, so was God putting in place the pieces for a plan of salvation.
The second time Elisha prays this prayer, it’s for the army. Elisha asks God to confuse the army and then leads them to Samaria, Israel’s capital. Once everybody is inside the city, Elisha prays, “Lord, open their eyes.” The army can see that they have unintentionally ended up in their enemy’s capital. But they can also perceive a new spiritual reality: They trusted in their weapons, horses and chariots, but Elisha’s God was stronger than those things.
I am like the servant in this passage. Sometimes, when my problems seem to overwhelm me, I reach for worry instead of faith. Even on dark days, God has been working to bring about redemption from pain and fear. If only God would open my eyes to the way that God is working. If only I could see that, as the armies of the enemy surround me in the night, so God is putting in place the pieces for a plan of salvation.
I am also like the army in this passage. Sometimes I trust in worldly power more than in God’s power. I trust in my intellect, in my resources, in my own decision-making abilities. I need God to open my eyes to the ways that I need to rely on God’s power each day, even when I think I’ve got it all under control.
In this season, I have found great power in this short prayer: “Lord, open my eyes.” I have needed it when I felt defeated, and I have needed it when I felt strong. I have especially needed it when I didn’t know what else to pray. May God open all of our eyes in this season to the plan of salvation that is already unfolding all around us.
Rev. David and Lauren Bass are CBF field personnel serving in Cambodia.
This prayer appears in the 2022-2023 edition of Prayers of the People, the annual prayer guide of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, edited by Rev. Meg Lacy Vega. Download the digital version or order free print copies of Prayers of the People at www.cbf.net/pray.