Summary: One of the most powerful prayers ever uttered came from a desperate preacher that found himself in a unbelievable situation. YOU will learn how to pray when the storm is beyond your control.
FERVENT PRAYER FROM THE BELL OF A FISH
We come the theme -- Character’s that build Character.
We will park in Jonah 2 and discover a desperate prayer from a desperate Preacher who was cast into the sea and swallowed by a big fish.
Jonah 1:17 unequivocally states, “7 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
The Lord appointed and prepared this fish to catch and swallow Jonah alive. IN the normal course of human events, men catch fish – Here we have a fish catching a man.
This is all orchestrated all be the hand of God. It was a divine miracle God saw to it that the fish appeared at just the right moment in just the right place, with just the right appetite to swallow Jonah.
SO Jonah goes from a nice nap on a boat headed for Spain to being tossed in a treacherous sea and spends three days in the occupancy of a fish’s belly.
Can you imagine what it was like INSIDE THAT FISH? I have a vivid imagination.
It’s dark, you can’t move around very much, the fish is swimming constantly, salt water washes over you, seaweed wraps around your body, and unidentified objects knock against you.
The big fish eats other fish and you have the seafood of whatever the fish has eaten floating all around you.
One other thing. Can you imagine how much it must has smelt. The inside of a fish really stinks. It’s greasy, slippery, slimy and the fish is trying to digest you.
This was not on his itinerary. This was not on his to do list on his way to Tarshish.
The worst preacher or missionary that has ever lived finds himself in a life or death circumstance. Notice how Jonah feels.
Jonah 2:1 says, “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.
Jonah cries to God for help. “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help,
It is amazing how prayer becomes significant to us when we are in trouble.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.
Jonah is a desperate man praying a desperate prayer.
Charles Swindoll recounts the story of an airliner in 1968 bound for New York that began its descent when the pilot realized the landing gear had refused to engage.
The Pilot worked the controls back and forth, trying again and again to unlock the landing gear but had no success.
He then asked the control tower for instructions as he circled the airport.
Responding to the crisis, airport personnel sprayed the runway with foam as fire trucks and other emergency vehicles moved into position. Disaster was only minutes away.
The passengers, meanwhile were told to place their heads between their knees and grab their ankles just before impact. It was one of those “I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening-to-me” experiences that led to many tears and even a few screams of despair in the cabin.
The landing was only a few seconds away when suddenly the pilot announced over the intercom: We are beginning our final descent.
At this moment, in accordance with International Aviation Codes established in Geneva, it is my obligation to inform you that if you believe in God you should COMMENCE PRAYER
Being thrust three days in the belly of the fish is not a safe place to LIVE, but it is a desperate place to pray.
Here is the problem: As long as we are in our boats headed to pursue our own agenda rather than the plans of God -desperate praying takes a back seat.
God intends for Christians to use prayer as a first response not a last resort.
Don’t wait until you get thrown from the boat or until the plane is going down to bow your head and fold your hands and cry out to God.
Jesus said my house shall be called a house of Prayer!
ANOTHER IMPORTANT FACTOR:
When the storm beat against the boat and the crew knew their life’s were at stake, Jonah acknowledged he was the culprit and he was responsible.
You cannot change what you do not acknowledge
Satan is crafty and cunning. He will convince us that we are not really that bad. After all, I am not as bad as this person over there. After all, I am not committing the five time sins?
It does not matter what it is, whatever sin you are hiding, until you get honest and quit lying to yourself, you will continue to life you life as an affront to God.