2 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish,
“I called to the Lord out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
3 You cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
how[c] shall I look again
upon your holy temple?’
5 The waters closed in over me;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped around my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the Pit,
O Lord my God.
7 As my life was ebbing away,
I remembered the Lord;
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
8 Those who worship vain idols
forsake their true loyalty.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord
10 Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon the dry land.
I love the story of the prophet Jonah. There are scenes from his life that make me think about my own life of faith, and my relationship with God.
The picture we find of Jonah in chapter two of the biblical book that bears his name is about praying in the midst of our troubles.
After Jonah was tossed into the sea and swallowed by the famous fish (or whale), he had some time to pray. He was probably praying throughout the storm. That’s when I often pause for a focused conversation with God. He was probably praying as he was sinking like a stone. Again, this is when my prayers are most intense. And we find that he prayed from the belly of the beast.
I’m not surprised that Jonah prayed then and there. I am surprised, however, what he prayed then and there. He didn’t beg God to deliver him from the dark, hot, vile digestive tract of this sea creature. This wasn’t a “gimmie” prayer (ie. God, Give me a new car, Give me a nice house, Give me a loving spouse, etc.) Instead, right there in the midst of the crisis, Jonah prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. A prayer that thanked God for listening, and for loving him – and the world.
There is something to when we pray and what we say from the heart in our prayers.
Help me, God, to thank You for being able to thank You. Make our conversations in prayer genuine talks between a creature and a Creator, a child and a caring Parent. Thanks for giving me this time and opportunity to talk with You. Amen.