Vital prayer. Men must pray for their eyes to be opened, because they do not necessarily see what is right in front of them.
EXAMPLES . . .
1. The scribes in Herod's Jerusalem knew the place of the Messiah's birth . . . Bethlehem, as found in Micah 5:2, yet did not set out with the Wise Men to see the Christ child. They were like mere sign posts, pointing in the right direction, but not moving one step themselves to get there! Or,The Psalmist had just prayed (v 17), "deal bountifully with your servant," and this is one way to do that, viz., by opening the spiritual eyes. Why pray this?
2. Note too Jesus' scathing rebuke of the Jews in John 5, where he lays this charge at their feet, "You search the Scriptures, because in them you think you have eternal life" (which is partly true, viz., one may find the truth there). But, they were not rebuked for looking in the right direction but failing to believe it. Jesus goes on to say, but "it is they that bear witness about me. Yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life" (39-40). Connecting proper action to evident truth requires God's enlightening power.
First, because we are conscious of our darkness, the dullness of our spiritual vision, and our consequent powerlessness to remove the defect. We need outside help, help outside of our abilities.
Second, we need to pray this because the Scriptures are so full of wonderful treasures, they "teem with marvels," and "the Bible is a wonder land" (A Treasury of David, C. H. Spurgeon). There is so much in God's Word, and we are so naturally ill-equipped, that we must turn to God through his Spirit to enlighten our spiritual understanding. Spurgeon wrote, "Scripture needs opening, but not one half so much our eyes do; the veil is not on the book but on our hearts."
It is they who've had a taste of Scripture's goodness who crave more. See a little, pray for much! Is this not then, a mark of the true Christian--Spurgeon offers again-- that a "true knowledge of God causes its possessor to thirst for deeper knowledge?"
One more word (Ah, there's so much still!!) from Thomas Manton: Saints do not complain that the law needs to be made plainer, but for their understanding to improve. "Blind men might as well complain of God, that he doth not make a sun whereby they might see. . . . There is no [lack] of light in the Scripture, but there is a veil of darkness upon our hearts." Therefore, we pray . . .
OPEN MY EYES THAT I MAY BEHOLD WONDROUS THINGS FROM YOUR LAW