Summary: It would be my guess that the most powerful prayer that Jonah ever prayed was in the belly of a fish. It’s possible that the most powerful prayer you have ever prayed was when you were in trouble as well. If crisis drives us to pray that's a good thing!
When it’s hard to pray, Pray Harder!
Sometimes what you think might do you in will be the one thing that saves you.
Sometimes the worst possible thing that can happen to you is exactly what you need.
Sometimes the thing you fear the most is the very thing that will turn your life around.
It would be my guess that the most powerful prayer that Jonah ever prayed was in the belly of a fish. It’s possible that the most powerful prayer you have ever prayed was when you were in trouble as well. How did Jonah get to this place in his life?
Jonah was a preacher…he was a prophet and God came to him one day and said “go to the city of Ninevah and preach against it , because it’s wickedness has come up before me. But there was a problem. Jonah didn’t like the people in Ninevah—they were evil—they were powerful and so this preaching opportunity looked more like a deaths sentence to Jonah . So Jonah did what many of us do-he ran away from God. God said go to Ninevah-instead he went in the opposite direction to Tarshish. He admitted that he was running from God. But listen I don’t care how strong you are or how fast you are, you cannot outrun God. God ran after Jonah and sent a storm that threatened to rip the boat apart. When the sailors on board discover that the storm has come because of Jonah, they ask him what they should do and he says “throw him overboard.” Now the sailors didn’t want to but the storm was strong and they felt they had no choice. And the moment they toss him overboard the sea becomes calm and the sailors are now safe.
But for Jonah his life has been turned upside down. At that point God sends a fish that swallows him and actually saves him from certain death.
Sometimes what you think might do you in will be the one thing that saves you. Jonah is in the belly of the fish for 3 days and 3 nights. And while he is there he prays. Listen to his prayer.
I think it is worth noting here that nearly every word he prayed was taken directly from the book of Psalms. Psalms was written before the book of Jonah and so Jonah in his time of trouble chose to pray the Psalms of David. You see most of the Bible speaks to us but the Psalms speak for us. And it is amazing what we can find in the Psalms…David wrote them at times when he needed to complain, he wrote them when he was in despair, he wrote them when he was angry and even wrote down some that have been called “Lord destroy my enemies” psalms. Silence my enemies. Destroy my enemies. So there are Psalms for nearly every occasion.
But here’s one thing---don’t wait until you are in a tough situation to read the psalms-cause you might end up somewhere in the belly of a fish where you can’t read the Bible and you have to go from memory and if you were in that situation how much of the Bible would you have committed to memory? So do it before you find yourself in these situations.
Now I want to say a word about this fish. Two things we know here—the Bible calls it a Great fish. In other words it was large and the Bible tells us that it was God who provided the fish. That aside many people are skeptical about this story. I do want to take time to answer 2 questions here that have been presented to the scientific community.
1. Could a whale swallow a human? Is that even possible? In other words is the mouth large enough? First of all pictures here on the screen is a blue whale. The blue whale is the largest animal alive today and may be the largest animal to have ever lived. They weigh between 200,000 and 350,000 pounds. I don’t know who was able to coax them to get on the scales but this is what scientists tell us. They range from 66-98 ft.
So is the mouth large enough? Glad you asked. The
mouth can be about 20 feet long, 15 feet high. So they are definitely big enough to engulf your pastor. Don’t get any ideas.
2. Now, has it ever happened? Sperm whales live on squid which they swallow whole. In 1955 a 405 lb. squid was removed intact from the belly of a whale. They don’t have to chew their food. How could a man survive 3 days in a whale? We don’t know because Jonah is the only person who ever lived to tell his story. But listen to what Jesus said.