The Prayer of Jonah
By: Seth Gogo Egoeh
Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. ~ Jonah 2:1-9, KJV
What a prayer! Just take your time and read that prayer verse by verse and tell me if that is not a prayer of faith! Many people like to dwell on the weakness of Jonah and his failings, but what most people forget is that all great men have their weaknesses and limitations. Maybe with the exception of Daniel and Joseph, all the great men we have heard of in the Bible such as Moses, Abraham, David, Peter, Paul, etc. had their weaknesses detailed. (NB: I’m not including Jesus in this list because He is Lord of lords and has no equal).
I would like to dwell on this powerful prayer of Jonah – a prayer of faith. You see, the Bible says in Hebrews 11:6 that it is impossible to please God without faith. And I’m sure a prayer of faith pleases Him. Jonah didn’t say that the LORD will hear him; rather, he proclaimed that the LORD heard him. This is the difference between a hopeful prayer and faithful prayer.
You see, Jonah knew that Salvation is of the LORD only (Jonah 2:9). In Acts 2:21, we are assured again that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Brethren, I don’t know what you’re going through – I have no idea. The belly of the great fish that swallowed Jonah could represent all sorts of problems you’re going through now – be it financial, marital, family, academic, work related, unemployment etc. When you think you’re at the bottom of life, know that only the Lord can deliver you, but you must seek Him faithfully through prayer.
What did Jonah do when he was running away from the Lord and got swallowed by the great fish? He remembered the LORD (Jonah 2:7). Maybe you have lost hope because of something, but I want to tell you that when you remember the Lord and put your trust in Him through prayer, God hears. The Bible says that the LORD’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither is His ear heavy that it cannot hear (Isaiah 59:2).
I encourage us to take our problems to the Lord in prayer. The Lord may not give us the answer we expect immediately but that should not discourage us from putting our trust in Him nor stop us from praying fervently. We should not forget that in the Book of Hebrews 11, the Bible let us know that all the great men of faith “having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise”, (Hebrews 11:39). Our faith does not end here. But we should be assured that anything we ask in the name of Jesus by faith will be granted us as long as it is in the will of God, (John 14:13,14). The better promise awaits us when the LORD calls us home!
As we enter the final month of this year, I want you to finish this year on a strong note by seeking the LORD on behalf of yourself, family, friends and colleagues. Pray, pray, pray and not just any other type of prayer, but a prayer of faith and see what the Lord does for you – you’ll be amazed what the Lord can do!
Thank you and stay blessed.