Warmth in Giving

Read Jonah 2:1-6.

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 coastal 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.

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough . . . Start Praising: LISTEN NOW | WATCH NOW


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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