Looking for the big picture in prayer

Looking for the big picture in prayer


There is the possibility we can get bogged down in the details within our prayer efforts. The details can and will be important, but the real possibilities of a grand vision of the Lord for you is not something to sideswipe but to consider right up front.

Persistence is important but both the picture  and vision of what we are asking for can be shifted as we go further down the road of a particular prayer.

The prayer can be put in another context, or in another possible picture. It might be the same prayer, or the prayer might be amended to better fit a picture that the Lord is now bringing forth.

Similar issues can occur with respect to both personal prayer and intercessory prayer, in that the details involved may fit a larger picture that the Lord does have..

In the story of Jonah, there were some nitty gritty details involved with what was happening, including the point where the Lord grew a plant in miraculous fashion for Jonah overnight for the purpose of providing shade shade form the powerful rays of the sun, a supernatural occurrence directed in detail to Jonah, yet the Lord allowed the plant to suddenly wither much to Jonah’s chagrin.

But there was a lesson involved that fit into a  bigger picture scenario to this occurrence in that the Lord related the demise of this plant to his call to Jonah to preach repentance to the giant city and all its inhabitants pronto, in that because of their errant ways, they could also be subject to the a similar realms of demise as the plant, a plant that Jonah cared about so much, yet seemingly did not make the link to caring about the people of the city, whom he felt deserved their possible upcoming fate.

The Lord did care about the people and animals of the great city and their possible impending doom and related this lesson to Jonah about his concerns being there, even as Jonah has his own concerns.

The Lord was bringing together two distinct scenarios and tying together two at first  seemingly unrelated pictures in his communications to Jonah.

The problems of the city, were larger and more important and from the Lord’s perspective, the bigger picture that needed to be understood and noted by Jonah who was to have a role in communicating the need for repentance to the city and the people of the city who were lost in their errant ways.

There were details but the Lord had a whole big picture in mind for Jonah right then and there. Jonah didn’t have the picture at first, but the Lord did have the picture and did reveal the big picture to Jonah.

Sometimes the expectations in prayer is if I can only get to first base, if I can only get this special prayer answered and then I can get going on my own and find what I am looking for, can hinder the prayer efforts towards what may be or will be a much bigger outcome or bigger picture that the Lord wants us to deal with, filled in with many details later on.


The idea is if I get this piece of the pie, I’ll go ahead  and work out the big stuff myself, rather than meeting the Lord down the road as the Lord holds the big picture for the later portion of the answer.

As Jonah went ahead, the Lord gave him not only detailed instructions, but also the big picture related to the detailed instructions.

A correlated example might be someone today who hopes to win lotto, and figures from there they are all set to go. It might help and be a nice jump start, but no matter what road you travel, you still need the Lord to hold up the big picture for you, and to help and aid in the orchestration of the big picture.

It would be like looking at a classic painting and strictly focusing on just one part or detail of the painting, which you can do but you can also go into the view of the painting as a whole and this is necessary really to properly interpret and enjoy the painting as the masterpiece it actually is.


If you go through an art museum, you do want to look at the details in the great works of art, but while you do this you still want the whole picture in front of you as well and if this was not the case, you would be disappointed and looking for the big picture or whole picture. .

In prayer we do want to discuss details but we don’t want to lack the whole picture if we can have the whole picture.

It is up to the Lord to reveal the whole picture, the big picture but this is something to ask for in prayer as while we want to be persistent, we also want to have the best possible view of how to pray and the best possible prayer vision for what we are praying about.

This is why in intercessions we can gravitate towards big ticket items and big ticket prayers, such as praying for everyone who is in need of healing in say a nation, a region of the world even while detailing some of the possible illnesses they may have so we start with a big picture and fill in some details.

Jonah could not have possibly known in precise detail all the errant ways of the great city he was called to minister to, he couldn’t have known that many of the people personally, yet he was called to address the city as a whole while not having complete details on the picture of what was happening.

It is also good to shift whatever your personal intentions may be, to an intercessory prayer module as well as keeping to a personal request, so you can include all others with a similar issue in your prayer, making the prayer not only for yourself but for many others as well who may be dealing with similar issues, thereby bringing forth also the common thread of humanity and concerns for others added to your personal requests.

Isaiah, Chapter 26 verse 12 from the NIV version of the Bible says:

12  Lord, you will grant us peace;
all we have accomplished is really from you.

Any big picture accomplishment comes from the Lord regardless of who is taking the credit according to this verse.

Isaiah, Chapter 26 verse 15 from the NIV version of the Bible says:

15 O Lord, you have made our nation great;

yes, you have made us great.
You have extended our borders,
and we give you the glory!

Here the Lord extended, or enlarged the picture towards greatness for both individuals and the nation they resided in, and the glory of this was unto the Lord.


When the Lord is considering doing something great for you, you might need to get with this picture of greatness, in that, it might involve enlarging your personal borders.

An example might be simply finances, if I am dirt poor, this may need to be remedied to enlarge my personal borders towards something the Lord may want me to do or have.

The point is that the Lord’s picture, may be great and can be great and for whatever he has in mind it is up to him and his sovereign wishes, but there can and should be the discussion of this possibility of enlarging the boundaries towards greatness within the context of the prayer relationship going forward and continuing onward. And of course this is not just from the selfish vantage point but also with the view of this as to how it affects others.


So don’t leave  the pictures greatness and hope out of your prayer,

It really isn’t necessary to ask for a great picture, just ask for the picture and or give pictures to the Lord for review. And the possibility that the picture presented by the Lord is greater than what you are contemplating, considering or imagining but whatever the picture might possibly be, ask the Lord to bring it before you and let you know the picture through his communicating it to you.

Another example from the story of Jonah is that we don’t have to be the most pristine person in the world in order to have the Lord communicate with us and Jonah was on the run in the other direction while the Lord closely and carefully communicated to him.

I might at some levels want a big house and I can’t even afford a bicycle. So I leave the picture out of my prayers totally.  Where the truth is any possible picture that the Lord may have for you or for others you are intervening for in prayer, should not be discarded because the up front means seem to be totally lacking.

The Lord in his vision can bring you past all obstacles in revealing and discussing the picture with you. The paramount thing is not to go for the great things because you want them, it is because they concern the Lord and the key it to understand what concerns the Lord within these grant pictures just as the key was for Jonah, to get with and understand what the Lord cared about within his presentation to Jonah.

You can ask the Lord for his picture for the day, the week, the job, the task, the proposed outline and so on keeping a keen eye on what the Lord cares about within this..

Both give a picture and ask the Lord to give you a picture as you pray.

The Lord can bring that grand masterpiece before you and also complete that masterpiece for you as you cooperate with his grace for this picture.

It might be also that the prayer picture you are called to will involve the Lord’s concerns for others, as it did mightily in the case of Jonah.










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