Sixteen Days with Jonah – Day 7

Jonah 2:1-9

1From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.

2 He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
3 You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
4 I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
5 The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.

6 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.

7 “When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, LORD,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.

8 “Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
9 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.’”

Inside a fish is perhaps the strangest place from which a person has ever prayed!

Jonah’s prayer recounts his dramatic descent deep in the realm of the dead and God’s bringing him to life from the pit when his life was ebbing away.

During my prayer pilgrimages around Tasmania in 2004 and 2010, I prayed from schools, prisons, parishes, hospitals, homes and mountains, but never from the belly of a fish!

It is true that certain circumstances in life seem to evoke a greater passion for prayer. Often intense times of prayer occur during sickness, unemployment, family breakdown, conflict – in other words, in times of distress.

I find it easy to ask God for things. Many an immature person wants, wants, wants, and wants! A sign of maturity is being thankful for life, even in all its turmoil, and asking where we might make a contribution.

I can learn from Jonah here. While Jonah sets out his plea to God under circumstances of his distress, nevertheless, he continues on to acknowledge God’s saving work in him. His shouts of grateful praise are accompanied by his vow to make good and his affirmation that Salvation comes from the LORD.

Listening God, I worship and adore you, ever grateful for your person and your world. Thank you that we can communicate, regardless of where I am or in what circumstances I find myself. I know that your people are a people at prayer. Help me, please, to be at prayer. Amen. 

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