Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Prayer of Jonah. Jonah 2:4

God Loves You
We know the story of Jonah and the fish. Jonah was running from God and his rebellion caught up to him on a boat heading to an obscure place called Tarshish. During the storm of God’s judgment, the sailors toss him overboard and God provided a fish to swallow him. He had a clear understanding of what God wanted him to do but in utter disregard of God he totally rebels, suffers punishment and consequences of historic magnitude which land (excuse the pun) him in the darkest depths of the sea. Jonah felt he had lost his relationship with God, and his commission as a prophet. He felt he had turned his back on God and God in kind had turned away from Jonah.

“…I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.” Jonah 2:4, NIV.

In the belly of the fish, he prays an incredible prayer, (all of chapter two). If you were to argue that prayer was no longer an option this would have been it! Jonah prays and God who is merciful hears his prayer. God hears Jonah even from the bottom of the sea; even though he has rebelled, sinned, and heading the wrong way. We are never too far from God that He won't hear our prayers.

His prayer is like a chorus we all could sing, it is the despair we all have felt. “I have been banished from your sight.” We often feel as if we have failed God so much and so repeatedly that there surely is no way to redeem our situation. We feel “banished,”that is judged, condemned and sent out the back door.

Then the great turn around word, “Yet.”  He says it as if he was saying “in spite of” or “non-the- less.” It is like he is saying “just wait and consider this great thing.” It is a big word that little word, yet.

What a prayer of faith! He is comforted and says “yet I will look again toward your holy temple.” He has not given up and is not thinking about heaven now, or he would use different imagery; he would say "I will come to your holy temple." He is speaking of present real deliverance. In faith, Jonah anticipated actually going again to the temple in Jerusalem. He says this because he knows he will receive the deliverance he asked of God. Remember he is saying this while still in the belly of the fish at the bottom of the sea!

If only my prayers were so confident. If I could learn one thing from Jonah it would be how to pray. I need to pray believing and express that I believe.


P.S. Take time to read all of Jonah 2 there are many more insights on prayer.

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