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Oct 25, 2022 06:00am
Journeying with Jonah: Part 3
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(The following is a family devotional guide with suggested questions and scriptures.)

Focus Scripture: Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, “I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me. I called for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice. For You threw me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the current flowed around me. All Your breakers and waves passed over me. So I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ Water encompassed me to the point of death. The deep flowed around me, seaweed was wrapped around my head. I descended to the base of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, Lord my God. While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple. Those who are followers of worthless idols abandon their faithfulness, but I will sacrifice to You with a voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the Lord.” The Lord commanded the fish, and vomited Jonah up onto the dry land. – Jonah 2:1-10

Jonah: A Praying Man

In Jonah 2:1-10, Jonah prayed a big prayer while inside a big fish. He said, “I called out to the Lord in my distress, and He answered me.” Jonah addresses God as “My Lord” and thanks Him for rescuing him from death. He noted that as he was slipping away, sinking to the bottom of the sea, he remembered God and said his cries for help reached God’s holy temple. This shows us that we can pray anywhere, anytime and know that God is listening! Jonah praises God and promises to make sacrifices showing his gratitude to Him. (Though he doesn’t quite know it will work out…) He ends on a powerful statement of acknowledging that salvation and deliverance come only from God – that God is the only one with the power to save.

There’s also something especially powerful about passionate prayers. While we don’t always get a “yes”, they do get God’s attention. Another powerful aspect of Jonah’s prayer is that he prays Scripture from the Psalms that he had memorized over the years. Lastly, Jonah shows gratitude to God in his prayers. God put him in the belly of a fish to get his attention in a big way and clearly, this works. Jonah’s powerful prayer reflects that he is now ready to do God’s will…even when it still probably doesn’t make sense to him. He gets what we all want in life: a redo.

Discussion Questions:

Explain prayer to me as if I was a third grader.

Do you usually only pray when you are in trouble?

Why should we pray? How often do you pray?

How do you pray? Any specific format?

When is the last time your prayer was fervent?

Suggested Prayer Model:

  1. Confess Sin – What did you think, do, or say that would displease a holy God? Confess it all! Use this time to get clean and take down that wall of sin.
  2. Thank God – What good can you thank Him for? Want an extra challenge? Thank Him for the not-so-good. Because He will help you with it if you seek Him. Even in the belly of a whale, Jonah’s prayer was one of thankfulness. He thanked God for saving him. He spends 3 days in the belly, with seaweed all around him…and he still finds words of praise for God. Shocking…and convicting. Jonah didn’t know, but he seemed to have the confidence that God would get him out of that fish, somehow. Jonah’s prayer was thankful, expectant, and confident. And I think God liked it, because after he prayed it that fish spit Jonah up on dry land.
  3. Pray for Others – Who needs help? Who has God laid on your heart to think about? Who needs salvation? Who did you tell you would pray for?
  4. Pray for Yourself – This is where you are honest. Lay it all out there. Talk to God as if he is your BFF. And, pray big. He may not always say “yes” but he does like it when we ask big things, impossible things. Lastly, use scripture (like Jonah) to add a power-packed punch to your prayer. Anytime God speaks, things happen. Chaos was brought to order, earth was created, land was formed, animals were created, seas appeared teeming with life, our universe was spin in action, stars were hung in the sky, the sun began shining, Adam and Eve took their first breath, and it was very good. But, that’s not it! When God (or Jesus) speaks, more things happen. God’s people are protected, armies are defeated, people are empowered, the enemy is thwarted, lepers are healed, water is made into wine, the blind see, the unclean are made clean, the lame walk, the lost are saved, the insane are made sane, the dead are resurrected. God’s Word is the game-changer. Any time we take a promise of God’s and turn it into a prayer, we are adding a power-packed punch to that prayer. God’s Word does not return void – it changes everything! This is one promise we can bank on.

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