1From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.
2 He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD,
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
7 “When my life was ebbing away,
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols
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.