Church Worship

What are We Singing: Open the Eyes of My Heart

  • Eva Marie Everson Contributing Writer
  • Published Jul 17, 2007
What are We Singing: <i>Open the Eyes of My Heart</i>

My excitement could not be contained. Even as I woke early in the morning, my heart leapt at the thought of what was coming. In a matter of weeks — then days — I was going to see something I’d read about my whole life. I was going to witness with my own eyes a place I’d always wanted to go but until then, had yet to see. 

The Sea of Galilee.

I remember the morning I said to myself, “You are going to see it. Actually see it.”

Then it dawned on me. With all the excitement about seeing the sea… one day — better still — I would see Jesus with my very own eyes. Stand face to face with my Savior, Friend, and Bridegroom.

A much more exciting thought for sure. But until that day, my spiritual eyes would have to suffice.

Paul Baloche

Paul Baloche, the worship leader who gave us Open the Eyes of My Heartsays that the “bottom line of praise and worship music is to get people to sing their prayers.”[1] With this song, he has penned words accompanied by music to allow singers, worshippers, and seekers to do just that.

It should be the desire of any Christian’s heart to see Jesus and so we pray for that. But what does that mean, exactly? How does one see with one’s heart? Does the heart have eyes? And, if so, how can they be opened? 

Even more frightening, I suppose, is what we might actually catch a glimpse of were we to even catch a fleeting vision of the Lord, high and lifted up.

Body Parts

In writing his song, Paul Baloche has offered two body parts of worshippers that — though quite familiar in the physical — are sung about in the spiritual. To understand what it means to have the eyes of one’s heart opened in order to see the Lord, let us first examine the words of another lyricist, an unknown Israelite of exemplary piety who was passionately devoted to the word of God as the word of life.[2]

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.[3]

When the unknown but adoring psalmist penned these words, was he speaking of physical eyes? No. Reading the scriptures for this man was more than just capturing words from the parchment, it was gleaning…beholding…understanding…and even more so, applying the truth of it to his life. He also expected to see only wonderful things within God’s Word, for God—he knew—can ultimately show us no less, including those things too difficult to grasp.

In almost every case of scripture (though not in every case) when the heart is written about, it is not the physical heart, but the spiritual. I have always found it interesting to note that the heart — not the brain, nor the liver, nor any other part of human flesh — is linked to the origin of emotion and conscious. According to the Bible, the heart is the centre not only of spiritual activity, but of all the operations of human life.[4]

The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.[5]

So What Shall We Then See?

According to Baloche, we ask that we see the Lord “high and lifted up.”

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.[6]

These words were spoken mere lines before what is probably the most famous verse in the entire Christian Bible: For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Being “high and lifted up” holds within it, a glorious moment we can scarcely fathom. In the history of humankind, very, very few people actually witnessed with their physical eyes the “lifting up” of Jesus; His crucifixion. Those who did — whether the Romans, the two thieves, the daughters of Jerusalem or the few family and friends who dared climb Golgotha — saw a holiness they could not perceive. They would endure days of agony before they would see with their hearts the truth that Jesus had tried to convey but they’d not quite understood. He was and is and always will be the King of Glory, filled to overflowing with power and love.

So Then, As You Sing

Again, according to the lyrics, we will experience — by our spiritual eyes and heart — the power and love of Jesus as we sing “holy, holy, holy.”

We like that part of the song very much.

But, let us think about the reality of what precedes this. We must see Jesus, “high and lifted up,” dying upon a Roman cross, sheer agony screaming from every pore of His body as He died in atonement for our sins. Our hearts must see Him fully, in the glory of His purpose as we sing, “Holy, holy, holy.” We cannot separate the agony from the glory.

Not if we want our hearts to truly see.

[2] Excerpted from the NIV Study Bible © 1985 The Zondervan Corporation, page 914.

[6] John 3:11-15

Eva Marie Everson is the author of a number of works such as Oasis, her recently released title from Baker/Revel. A seminary graduate, she speaks on a number of topics and can be reached by going to: