Jonah had gotten himself into a real mess. When God told him to go the wicked city of Ninevah to announce His judgment, Jonah immediately went in the opposite direction. The Bible tells us he ran “to get away from the LORD” (Jonah 1:3).
The disobedient prophet went to the coast and boarded a ship, hoping to escape from God and the difficult task he desperately wanted to avoid. But Jonah’s disobedience set off a domino of horrific consequences and before he could bait a hook, the rebellious child of God was looking at life from inside the belly of a fish.
I’ve been there. Not literally inside a fish like Jonah, but definitely surrounded by the consequences of my rebellion What about you? Have you ever been “caught” by the consequences of sin?
Yet, even in disobedience God provided for Jonah. The book of Jonah doesn’t give us details about the great fish or what it was like “on the inside,” but Jonah obviously could at least breathe! God also gave Jonah plenty of time to think – and pray.
The Bible tells us that after three days and nights inside the fish “then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God” (Jonah 2:1). I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it would have taken me that long to turn to prayer!
What to Pray When You’re Suffering from the Consequences of Sin
Caught in the consequences of sin, with God as his only hope, Jonah prayed. I see five significant components of Jonah’s prayer – great for all of us to remember the next time we’ve been “caught” by sin (see Jonah 2:2-9).
- Jonah asked God to help him in his time of need.
- Jonah acknowledged the LORD as his Savior and the one, true God.
- Jonah repented of his disobedience.
- Jonah praised God.
- Jonah committed to obey God.
Second Chance for Obedience
The Lord heard Jonah’s prayer and answered it. We know this because the specially prepared fish couldn’t stomach the prophet and regurgitated Jonah up on the beach. Plus, God gave Jonah a second chance for obedience.
When God rescued Jonah, his mission was still waiting. This time Jonah obeyed. It would have been so much easier for Jonah to obey the first time around. He could have avoided so much heartache. And while it’s easy for me to look at Jonah’s life and shake my head, I know I’ve done the same thing. More than once.
So, I pray the fish prayers and ask God to help me obey more quickly the next time.
What about you? Have you ever prayed from inside a fish? Did you take God’s second chance for obedience?