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Devotions > Vision and Prayer

23 Nov 2011



What thoughts come to mind when you hear the word vision?   In Proverbs 29 we find the familiar phrase “where there is no vision the people perish.”    What is this vision?  It seems in our current usage the word vision can have several different meanings.   It can mean the ability to see or perceive.  Or it may also mean the picture of future things developed by a “visionary” person.  It could also mean a dream or picture somehow communicated from God to man.

But what does it mean in the context of Proverbs 29:18?   In the Key Word Study Bible the word translatedvision is described as follows: “a masculine noun meaning revelation by means of a vision, an oracle, a divine communication.  The primary essence of this word is not so much the vision or dream itself as the message conveyed.  It signifies the direct, specific communication between God and people through the prophetic office.”

Note the way this word is amplified in the Amplified Bible.

Proverbs 29:18a (AMP)
18 Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish;

It seems that in our day we desire leaders who are somehow visionaries.   But are we on the right track?  This idea of a man as a visionary may be somewhat oversold, at least by biblical standards.   There is no doubt that a part of leadership is to have or obtain the capacity to provide direction.    However, perhaps the key question is: what is the source of the direction?   Of course we certainly want and need leaders who are hearing from God and communicating a redemptive revelation of Him and His plans for ministry.    However in our current culture we may take too little care to lift up God as God and humble ourselves into our proper prostrate position with the critical consideration that God is all knowing and His ways and His thoughts are much deeper and higher than any that have ever been conceived by man.

To test these thoughts from scripture we might ask the question: who had the vision to bring the Nation of Israel out of Egypt?  Was it Moses or God?  Someone might argue that Moses had this idea when he was forty years old when he attempted to get better treatment for his people the Hebrews.   If he did have this idea there is absolutely no record of it in the scriptures and quite the opposite seems to be the case by the time he is eighty standing at the burning bush in the presence of God.

 Or perhaps we should consider Abraham.   Was it his visionary capacity that brought him to the place of being considered the father of the people of God?    Or perhaps we should consider Noah, who spent nearly a lifetime building a boat to prepare for a flood when he had never seen rain.   The scriptures are filled with heroes who became great leaders.   But these men, like Joshua and Gideon and David were chosen by God and made leaders because of God’s work in their lives and their relationship with Him.

 Maybe there are times that our idea of a great leader and God’s idea of the same are not the same.  It seems that at the core of striving to become a leader is to seek to have regular intimate communication with God and listen to Him carefully with the single minded commitment to obey and lead in the direction outlined by Him.

Would it be foolish to think that mere men can by some means gain the capacity to envision the future things of God without listening carefully to His voice?   As Jesus began to reveal the nature and work of the Holy Spirit He spoke about the Spirit revealing things in the future to His children.

John 16:13 (AMP)
13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].                 (bold added)

A similar opportunity appears when we pray.   Should we consider asking the Spirit to reveal to us the requests that are on the heart of God?  Or rather, if we consider ourselves adequate in the process of planning and competent in the course of communication, should we regard ourselves proficient in the performance of prayer?

If we are to pray from the pattern given by Jesus to His disciples, we will pray for God’s will to be done. Of course we can do this in a very general way but probably never grasp the firm conviction that our prayers have been answered.  On the other hand if we were to seek the face of God and ask Him to reveal His will so that we could pray for it, do you think He would provide some direction for our prayers?     According to the word of God and your understanding of the nature of God do you believe that He is committed to guiding our prayers?

There is evidence of a growing focus and practice of prayer around the world.  Below is a quote from Dr. Ben Jennings, Prayer Leader with Campus Crusade for Christ.


World-LEVEL prayer news

From Dr. Ben Jennings

Week of August 28, 2011


J. Edwin Orr, the late Christian historian, declared in a message I heard,

“When God wants to do something great, He sets His people to praying.”


Thank God for the spectacular array of prayer movements that are growing

around the world today. Days, weeks and months of prayer; fasting and prayer; 24-7

prayer initiatives; prayer mountains and chapels; denominational prayer; on-site prayer

teams; all-night prayer; houses of prayer; prayer walking; prayer chains; pastors, men’s,

women’s youth, children’s prayer groups are growing and spreading rapidly. Books on

prayer are among best-seller publications in America.


There is also a growing interest in praying for revival.    God is setting His people to pray.  Please pray that the Lord will show mercy and the people who are called by His name will humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, that God might bring a powerful revival to this Nation soon.   The stakes are high.  We really should pray. 

Jeff Williams