Big Fish…Big Attitude – Prayers From a Fish Belly

Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish:

“I called out to the Lord in my distress, and he answered me.
        From the belly of the underworld I cried out for help;
        you have heard my voice.
You had cast me into the depths in the heart of the seas,
        and the flood surrounds me.
        All your strong waves and rushing water passed over me.
So I said, ‘I have been driven away from your sight.
        Will I ever again look on your holy temple?
Waters have grasped me to the point of death;
        the deep surrounds me.
Seaweed is wrapped around my head
        at the base of the undersea mountains.
I have sunk down to the underworld;
        its bars held me with no end in sight.
        But you brought me out of the pit.’
When my endurance was weakening,
        I remembered the Lord,
        and my prayer came to you,
            to your holy temple.
Those deceived by worthless things lose their chance for mercy.[d]
But me, I will offer a sacrifice to you with a voice of thanks.
        That which I have promised, I will pay.
            Deliverance belongs to the Lord!”

(Jonah 2:1-9, Common English Bible).

God tells Jonah to go to Ninevah. Instead, he tries to go to Tarshish. The weather turns bad, bad to the point of scaring the crew. Jonah realizes its all his fault and instructs the crew to throw him into the sea. Eventually, they do and the weather clears.

The weather may have cleared but Jonah is still in trouble. Miles from shore, this prophet is just trying to survive in the sea, but you can only tread water for so long before you become tired. When in Scouts and again in the Navy, I learned how to use my clothes as a flotation device. I am not too sure how well that would work with robes.

God still had work to do. And, God would provide grace for Jonah again as Jonah becomes fish bait. God sent a great fish that swallowed Jonah up in a single bite. Now our hero finds himself in the belly of a large fish. He finally decides it is time to pray.

I can’t speak for you. But, as for me, I think I might have started praying while I was still on the boat. “Lord, I know you wanted me to go to Ninevah and instead I ran in the opposite direction. I was wrong for doing that. Lord, I recognize that was a pretty dumb move and you hold all the power and if you wanted you could crush me. But Lord, the boat crew has done nothing wrong and deserve better than this. Please Lord, calm the sea. When we reach Tarshis I will get on another boat and go to Ninevah as you first instructed. Please, Lord. Amen.”

Instead of praying, however, Jonah decides it would be better to take a swim and then be a helping of human stew for a giant fish. It is only after this calamity that Jonah realizes God will win and he begins to pray.

Paul tells us we are to pray without ceasing. Jonah should have prayed before he ran. I am not saying I might not have tried to run too. But maybe, just maybe, had Jonah prayed, he might have avoided calamity he and others suffered at sea.

We must be people of prayer, not just when we are tired of smelling the fish, but all the time, seeking God’s guidance for the things we are supposed to do and for the things we want to do. When we begin with prayer, we can avoid at least some of life’s storms.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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