In the book of Jonah, we meet an ordinary man from Bible times, a plain old Joe named Jonah. He was hardly a hero of the Bible. He was, in fact, more of an antihero.
When God told him to go to Nineveh, Jonah instead headed in the other direction as fast as he could go. Reaching the coast city of Jaffa (or Joppa), Jonah boarded a ship bound for Tarshish. He did not reach his destination. Instead, he ended up in the last place he ever thought he would be: the belly of a great fish.
Was there ever a more reluctant and disobedient prophet in the Bible than Jonah? But Jonah had one thing going for him. When he was in the belly of the fish, Jonah got serious with God and prayed for all he was worth.
If you have been through a storm in your life, if you have found yourself in the belly of the beast, if you are suffering as a consequence of disobedience or even through no fault of your own, then the prayer of Jonah is for you.
It’s important to notice something about Jonah’s prayer: Out of his watery grave, Jonah prayed the Scriptures back to God. Again and again in this passage, Jonah prays the promises of God as they have been given throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, especially in the book of Psalms.
Jonah didn’t know how God would deliver him or when God would deliver him or even if God would deliver him alive. He simply trusted that God, by His own sovereign choice, would deliver him from the belly of that fish.
Whenever you are in the belly of the beast, and you don’t know how you should pray, pray the Scriptures. Pray His promises: “Lord, You promised that I can cast all my cares on You, for You care for me. You promised that You would carry my grief and sorrows. You told me not to fear, because You are with me.”
Jonah’s prayer is for any of us going through a stormy trial. It doesn’t matter whether our actions caused the storm or whether we are innocent victims. Jonah’s prayer is a powerful reminder that, even if we forsake God, He never forsakes us.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your steadfast love and forgiveness. Because of Your grace and mercy, I can face any storm, for I know You are with me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit” (Jonah 2:6).
*This devotional adapted from Life-Changing Prayers by Michael Youssef © 2018. Published by Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission.
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