I am excited to tell you about the next prayer in our 52 days of prayer journey.
Tonight we venture into the book of Jonah, For those of you that don't know the story of Jonah I encourage you to read the whole book it is only 4 short chapters and will really give you a deeper insight into Jonah and the reason to why he prayed the prayer we are looking at today.
Jonah is a prophet who was tasked to deliver some news to a town and Jonah decided that he did not want to do this, so he did what I think he thought was a good idea at the time and ran away, have you ever felt like running away when tasked to do something you don't want to? Something really hard?
The thing is Jonah was running away from God. Believe it or not you can't run away from a God who is all knowing and ever present. As a result of Jonah running away he ended up being thrown off a boat into the depths of the sea, where you guessed it he ended up in the stomach of a fish. I don't know about you but I cannot imagine what that must have been like having never been swallowed up by a fish, I mean it must have been dark and pretty smelly.
The first part of Jonah's prayer focuses on his despair. What happened to him, how he felt. Its not a little sadness or frustration. The bible says Jonah cried out, called out from the depth, he was probably full of guilt, bitterness, fear, maybe depressed, I mean who wouldn't be when you might not live because your in a fishes stomach, so he cried from within his soul.
The beautiful part that follows is that Jonah recognises that God hears him and He answers. Jonah saw that his actions were the reason why he was in such despair and even though he wanted to get away from God, He was still there for him at his worst. You see in Jonah's prayer its very much back and forth, the bad happened but God brought light and goodness.
Jonah decided, let me say that again!
Jonah decided, it was a choice, his choice, to turn and look up, not inward, not to his current circumstances, he chose to look up, to God.
How many times when things are not maybe going your way or how you expect them to, do you look around at your circumstances and blame them, and focus on the negative? Maybe its time to choose to change your outlook, to literally look up.
The very end of Jonah's prayer is a total realisation a down to earth moment where he knows that Salvation, his salvation is from the Lord. Jonah pours out his thanksgiving and praise at this realisation, that his spiritual and eternal blessings are from God. I think its easy for us to forget this. Which is why this prayer is so important. Despite what Jonah went through, he remembered to look up to God and that he is Saved by Him and through Him only.
Tomorrow is a group study day. Don’t forget to bring your highs and lows of the week to your group so that you can pray together for each of these things. I hope your group sessions go well. Please do comment and let us know what you a finding out about God and yourself in the comment section below.