“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol, I cried, and you heard my voice.”
– Jonah 2:1–2
What a picture? On so many levels, right? Number one, Jonah’s in the belly of a fish. And I really look forward to diving into Secret Church on Jonah and talking more about just that reality. There’s a ton we could talk about there. But what is he doing? From the belly of this fish he’s praying, he’s crying out to the Lord. And listen to the language, “Out of my distress, out of the belly of Sheol,” which I can imagine, that’s probably what the belly of the fish feels like.
Jonah 2:1–2 Shows Us That the Lord Listens to Our Cries
But the beauty of Jonah saying, “You heard my voice,” from the belly of the fish. Think about it. Jonah is experiencing not just distress in general, but he’s experiencing the consequences of disobedience, the consequences of sin and rebellion against God. And in the depth of those consequences, Jonah cries out to God, the God he has run from, the God he has rebelled against. And God hears him and God answers his cry.
Is this not such good news, that even though we rebel against God, the holy God of the universe, before whom our sin warrants infinite eternal judgment, that God in His grace hears our cry for mercy, and He answers it. He answers our cry. I mean, you read all the way down in this prayer, it’s an amazing prayer, and you get to Jonah Chapter Two, Verse Nine, and the last thing he says as he prays, “Is salvation belongs to the Lord.” Praise God.
Jonah 2:1–2 Shows God’s Mercy in Listening to Those Who Rebelled
Just pray. God, we praise You for Your salvation in our lives. Though we have rebelled against You, that we deserve eternal separation from You, we deserve judgment from Your holy, righteous, hand, we praise You for your relenting. We praise You for Your unrelenting mercy and grace, for Your pursuit of us, even when we have found ourselves, and some even maybe right now, finding themselves at a low point, experiencing the consequences and distress associated with sin and rebellion, to know that You don’t give up on Tour people, that you pursue Tour people, that Your people can’t outrun Your grace, that we can’t outrun Your mercy.
God, all glory be to Your name. Jesus, we praise You for making salvation possible to us, for hearing our cries for mercy, for saving us from our sin through Your death on a cross, and Your resurrection from the grave. Salvation belongs to You and we praise You for Your salvation. And we pray for the spread of Your salvation through us to people around us today. God help us to share this good news with other people around us, that You, oh God, are gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and that You will save all who trust in You. God, we pray that for people around us.
We pray that for people around the world, specifically today, for Jewish people around the world, those who you chose in the Old Testament to be your people, many Jewish men and women and children, families that are spread out in a diaspora among the nations.
Praying for the Jewish People in Tunisia
We pray for Jewish people in Tunisia, specifically, today for their salvation. God, open their eyes to the salvation that is available in Jesus. Oh God, we praise You for Your relentless mercy and grace and love towards sinners, including every single one of us praying right now. All glory be to Your name. Salvation belongs to You. We cry out to You from our distress, and You hear and answer us by Your grace. All glory be to Your name. We pray in light of Jonah Chapter Two, Verses One and Two. In Jesus name, amen.