Jonah will pray. Jonah chapter 2 is called the ‘Prayer of Jonah,’ or the ‘Psalm of Jonah.’ It’s about God finally getting Jonah’s attention. There is a time when God will get your attention. Jonah will pray!

The Book of Jonah
By Pastor Delbert Young

Jonah Will Pray

Audio

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Jonah Will Pray

Scriptures: Jonah 1:6; Jonah 1:17; Jonah 2:1; Jonah 2:2; Jonah 1:9; Hebrews 4:16; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Jonah 2:3-7; Jonah 2:6; Psalms 43:5; Jonah 2:6; Jonah 2:8; Jonah 2:9; Jonah 2:10

Jonah chapter 2 is called the “Prayer of Jonah,” or the “Psalm of Jonah.” It’s about God finally getting Jonah’s attention. There is a time when God will get your attention. Jonah will pray! Back in 1:6, the captain of the ship went to Jonah and told Jonah to pray. Let’s read.

Jonah 1:6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and CALL ON YOUR GOD! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.”

Jonah was in a horrible storm of life because Jonah was running from God and when you are running from the Lord, you don’t pray. “Christians” today refuse to pray. Do you know why? Same reason. It’s because we run from God. We don’t admit it, but the word of the Lord comes to us telling us to do something. We say, “I DON’T WANT TO” and do what Jonah did – run from the Lord. Rebellious children don’t want to spend time with their parents. This is why we experience what Jonah experienced and find ourselves swallowed by horrific circumstances. YOU WILL PRAY.

Jonah 1:17 But THE LORD PROVIDED A GREAT FISH TO SWALLOW JONAH, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.

Eventually, some huge horrific circumstance swallows us and this is where we begin today. So, how do we get out of a horrific circumstance, which probably happened because of something we did or did not do? What did Jonah do to get out?

Jonah 2:1 FROM INSIDE THE FISH JONAH PRAYED to the LORD his God.

From where? How many will admit there have been times when you “sort of” ignored the Lord until you were consumed INSIDE a bad situation? What is one of the first things you did? YOU WILL PRAY! Even the lost of the lost will call out to the Lord.

(NIV) Jonah 2:2 He said: “In my DISTRESS I CALLED TO THE LORD, and HE ANSWERED ME. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.

(KJV) Jonah 2:2 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.

(NLT) Jonah 2:2 He said, “I cried out to the LORD in my GREAT TROUBLE, and HE ANSWERED ME. I called to you from the world of the dead, and LORD, you heard me!

Jonah had basically said, “Forget you God,” yet in his distress, affliction, and great trouble, Jonah cried out to the Lord and the Lord amazingly ANSWERED him. Obviously, we do not understand prayer, or we would pray more. Jonah said back in 1:9…

Jonah 1:9 …”I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”

Jonah realized prayer is our coming into the presence of the creator of everything. It seems we know we can pray and God will hear and ANSWER, but we refuse to pray UNTIL we find ourselves INSIDE a great fish. Have you ever heard someone say something like, “Things are bad. Things are horribly bad. ALL WE CAN DO NOW IS …” (pray)? For some reason, prayer is the “last option.” I want to ask you a question. How does this attitude make God feel? I think it breaks the heart of God? Instead of prayer being the first thing we do, it’s the last. The Bible says…

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of GRACE, that we may OBTAIN MERCY, andFIND GRACE to help IN TIME OF NEED.

We OBTAIN God’s mercy and FIND grace. What’s the difference between grace and mercy?Mercy is when God does not let the “hammer” come down on us when he could or even should. It’s being guilty in court and “throwing yourself on the MERCY of the court.” You are in big trouble, but want the judge to go easy on you and he or she does. This is mercy. We obtain mercy by praying. The hammer comes down on us because we refuse to pray UNTIL…

We FIND grace. People confuse grace and mercy. Grace is God allowing you to FIND solutions and answers to your dilemma, or situation. Have you ever been at rope’s end not knowing what to do, but through prayer, the solution came? The apostle Paul said…

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the GRACE OF GOD I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the GRACE OF GOD which was with me.

Grace gives you something to work with.God helped Paul FIND wisdom and abilities he didn’t possess. This is exactly what we need when IN distress, affliction, and trouble – INSIDE the fish. It’s in prayer weobtain mercy, and find grace to help in TIME OF NEED. Yet, it seems we must be INSIDE HELL before we pray. I love how the King James’ Version translates it.

(KJV) Jonah 2:2 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.

Hell would be the point where Jonah was the farthest he could be from God. Jonah cried out and God heard him. Some of us could say, “From the belly of my hellish marriage, I cried out and the Lord heard me.” Some of us could say, “From the belly of my depression, I cried out and the Lord heard me.” Some could say, “From the belly of disease, I cried out and God heard me.” Some of us could say, “From the belly of big, big trouble, I cried out and God heard me.”

Jonah 2:3-7 YOU hurled ME into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all YOUR waves and breakers swept over ME. I said, ‘I have been banished from YOUR sight; yet I will look again toward YOUR holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened ME, the deep surrounded ME; seaweed was wrapped around MY head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barredME in forever…

Notice the interaction now between God and Jonah. Jonah, you are going to pray! Technically, those in the boat with Jonah “hurled” him into the deep. Technically, your situations seem to be at the hands of others. However, Jonah wisely understood it was God who hurled him. Do we understand this in our own lives? No doubt, it was the Lord’s waves and breakers sweeping over him. Jonah was saying he was but a dead man inside his situation. Then…

Jonah 2:6 … BUT YOU BROUGHT MY LIFE UP FROM THE PIT, O LORD MY GOD. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and MY PRAYER ROSE TO YOU, to your holy temple.

Jonah said he was in his lowest place and worst possible situation. He was at a place where it seemed over. He was at a place of deepest depression, swirling seas, waves, storms, total loneliness, banishment, and seaweed choking out life. THEN JONAH PRAYED and said, BUT YOU BROUGHT MY LIFE UP! IT IS ONLY WHEN JONAH INTERACTED WITH GOD HIS LIFE TURNED UP!

YOU CAN BE IN DEEPEST DEPRESSION, SWIRLING, DROWNING SITUATIONS, STORMS, LONELINESS, ETC, BUT NOT BE HOPELESS. The reason is because it’s never “hopeless.” You are never “hopeless.” You situation is never “hopeless.” All Jonah had to do, all you have to do, is “put your hope in God” through prayer. It’s never hopeless if you will pray.

Psalms 43:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your HOPE IN GOD, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Your life can go UP. All of us have been IN the pit. If you got out in good shape and your life went UP, it’s what you did. It’s all about your praying and doing what the Lord told you to do.

I want to make sure we don’t miss a vital point. The entire time Jonah was going through his “belly of hell,” God was working Jonah’s miracle. God is going to work a miracle for Jonah, but there is a process Jonah placed “himself” into. It goes back to the word of the Lord coming to Jonah. Had he simply obeyed the word sent to him none of this process would need to take place. Jonah must now process through the great wind, violent storm, being thrown overboard, the sea, and the great fish. My point is many times we put ourselves in need of a miracle because we do not obey the word of the Lord to begin with. Now we must go through a process to get to our miracle.

God will work your miracle, but not until you process. For example, you may be in the belly of sickness. God will work your miracle, but you will go through the process – wind, storm, fish. What I am trying to tell us is this is the way God works in our lives when we do not obey the word of the Lord when it comes to us. WE CALL IT GOD DISCIPLINING US. GOD CALLS IT LOVE. God knows we often do not obey (as you know your children will not), so he takes us through processes to lead us, teach us, help us, love us. He raises us like a good parent in an attempt to make our lives wonderful and productive.

However, never forget in the middle of the mind of God, and every process you encounter is NINEVEH – those lost people who will go to hell unless we go through the process. I want you to think about something possibly you have never thought about. Do you realize there are people your children will be used to save? You are raising them to succeed. God is raising them to succeed, but also go to their Nineveh. Are you helping the Lord God do this? You should.

Jonah 2:6 … BUT YOU BROUGHT MY LIFE UP FROM THE PIT, O LORD MY GOD. “When my life was ebbing away, I REMEMBERED YOU…”

Will you say “BUT YOU GOD” back to me? BUT YOU GOD BROUGHT MY LIFE UP! Never forget the BUT YOU GOD times in your life. Your marriage seemed over, BUT YOU GOD… You had an awful report from the doctor, BUT YOU GOD…! You were in a legal mess, BUT YOU GOD…! There was the time you thought you were about to die, BUT YOU GOD BROUGHT MY LIFE UP! Never forget the BUT YOU GOD moments.

I was in my late 20’s. I had a wife and two children. I was driving to Atlanta from Griffin on highway 155. Hurrying, traveling about 65 mph, I passed a car. The steering wheel came off in my hands. I frantically attempted to reattach it with no success. Life went into slow motion, but in moments, the vehicle moved to a 6-8 feet deep ditch. I was as far from God at this moment in my life as I could be. I could do nothing except cry out to God. The vehicle flipped at 65 mph. I heard glass breaking and felt it hitting my face as the windshield burst. Hanging upside-down by the seatbelt, I covered my face with my hands. I thought it was over. I thought I was going to die in a car crash… BUT YOU GOD…! Finally, the sounds of the crash, the glass, and the dirt stopped. Hanging upside down my head was against the crushed in roof of the car. I unbuckled the seatbelt and crawled through the broken out window. I patted my body up and down. There was no blood. All my arms, hands, legs, everything was there and there was no blood. I was alive. Did I tell you there was no blood? I should have died, BUT YOU GOD!!!!! THERE WAS A NINEVEH FOR ME.

I was fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with a good friend and my nephew. The sea was rough, but I had been in much rougher. However, this time the bilge pump stopped working, but the live well pump had not and a dead baitfish plugged the drain. This means it was pumping water into the boat and no one knew. The boat was low because of the unseen water under the floor. The motor went down enough to suck water into the engine and the motor blew. With no power, we were at the mercy of a rough sea. I said, “Help us Jesus!” I called out to the Lord. The boat began to rock throwing my friend and nephew into the Gulf of Mexico with life vests. The boat rolled. We were miles off shore. The radio was dead. We could have been lost at sea, BUT YOU GOD! My friend had put his cell phone in a plastic bag. Amazingly, it came floating past him. He grabbed it and called the Coast Guard who rescued us. (I got a new and bigger boat.) There is never “NO HOPE” if you will call out to the Lord. REMEMBER the “BUT YOU GOD” times in your life.

Jonah 2:8 Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

Jonah tells us not to do what he did. What were Jonah’s worthless idols? Hatred for the Ninevites would be one. He was hard-headed and hard-hearted. I want to make certain we get this. It was because of those “worthless idols” Jonah ended up in the belly of hell. What are your idols? Hate? Money? Possessions (things)? Your image? Addiction? Anger? Lust? Porn? Listen to Jonah. Clinging to them is what places you in your belly of hell.

Jonah 2:9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. WHAT I HAVE VOWED I WILL MAKE GOOD. Salvation comes from the LORD.”

Notice keeping the vow is connected with SALVATION COMES FROM THE LORD. See, there are situations we get into where only God can save us. SALVATION COMES FROM THE LORD.

I love it! Jonah did what we all do. “God, if you get me out of this one, I will praise you. I will sacrifice to you – I will do the tithing and alms thing. I will keep this vow. I promise!” What did you promise the Lord in your belly of hell? What vow have you made to God? Let’s be honest. How many at some difficult point in time made a promise to God? Now, how many actually kept them? Well, you will. Believe me. You will keep your vow. The Lord remembers it. A time will come when he will call it up. WHAT I HAVE VOWED, I WILL MAKE GOOD.

Jonah 2:10 And THE LORD COMMANDED THE FISH, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Do you believe the Lord can command your fish – circumstance? SALVATION COMES FROM THE LORD. It didn’t just “spit” Jonah out. It vomited Jonah onto dry land. Initially, this sounds gross. However, how many wish your bad circumstances would get sick of you and vomit you out? Instead of it making you sick, you make it sick.

How do you get out of the belly of hell? Pray! Obtain mercy! Find grace! Hope in God! Let your worthless idols go. Keep your vow! Of course, the best thing is to obey the word of the Lord to begin with. How many bellies of hell could we avoid if we would?

Other Related Sermons:

They Got the Sign of Jonah – video audio notes Luke 11:29-36

Blood and Mysteries of Palm Sunday – sermon video audio notes

Mocking Isaac sermon notes series