A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

When we study the book of Jonah, we often focus on the miraculous journey he experienced inside a giant fish: “Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17). Yet the greater story is the transformation we see within Jonah through his model prayer during that underwater voyage.

There is nothing that will bring us closer to the Lord than being in the belly of a fish. When we experience intense suffering, the best thing we can do is to pour out our hearts to God.

Read Jonah 2. Why is Jonah’s prayer an example for us? Because Jonah is praying the Scripture. Many of the words he uses come from the Book of Psalms. Jonah 2:9 says, "But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, 'Salvation comes from the Lord.'" Compare this with Psalm 96:1-2: “Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.”

Psalm 30:3 also echoes throughout Jonah's prayer as he says, "From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. . . . But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit" (Jonah 2:2, 6). Psalm 30:3 says, “You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.”

If you’re having trouble finding the words, do as Jonah did and rely on the very Word of God to direct your tongue.

Prayer: Father, when I go through times of suffering, help me to turn to You and Your Word. Teach me to pray the Scripture like Jonah did. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

“Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief” (Psalm 143:1).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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