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Prayer from the Belly

September 14, 2017

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Prayer from the Belly

We all tend to pray  most earnestly  when we’re in deep,  deep trouble.     But,  Jonah had even more problems  and fears  than most of us.     God commanded Jonah  to preach to Nineveh,  the most important city  in Assyria.

This command really put Jonah  in a tizzy.     He absolutely hated Nineveh  because they were such wicked  and horrifically cruel idolaters,  who were steeped  in prostitution  and witchcraft.     Jonah was afraid  of their cruelty  and didn’t think they were worth trying  to save.

When Jonah tried running away  from God,  the LORD led things  so that Jonah got thrown  into the sea  by sailors  in an effort  to stop a terrific storm.     That did stop the storm,  and Jonah got swallowed  by a huge fish.

Jonah, chapter 2  contains Jonah’s prayer  that teaches us  how we should pray.

Then Jonah prayed  to the LORD his God  from the stomach  of the fish,  and he said,

“I called  out of my distress  to the LORD,
And He answered me.
I cried  for help  from the depth  of Sheol;
You heard my voice.

“For You had cast me  into the deep,
Into the heart  of the seas,
And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers  and billows passed  over me.

“So I said,  ‘I have been expelled  from Your sight.
Nevertheless  I will look again  toward Your holy temple.’

“Water encompassed me  to the point  of death.
The great deep  engulfed me,
Weeds were wrapped  around my head.

“I descended  to the roots  of the mountains.
The earth  with its bars  was around me forever,
But You have brought up my life  from the pit,  O LORD my God.

“While I was fainting away,
I remembered  the LORD,
And my prayer came  to You,
Into Your holy temple.

“Those who regard vain idols
Forsake their faithfulness,

But I will sacrifice  to You
With the voice  of thanksgiving.
That which I have vowed  I will pay.
Salvation is  from the LORD.”

Then the LORD commanded the fish,  and it vomited Jonah up  onto the dry land.

Jonah was on the verge  of dying  when he gave the sacrifice of praise  and thanksgiving.

Whether we are  at our wit’s end  or not,  all our prayers need  to include a sacrifice of praise  and thanksgiving.     Why?     Because our LORD is  the Almighty Lord,  who made all the heavens  and earth.     Everything is  in His control  and according to His wisdom.

Because God knows all things,  loves us dearly  in Christ Jesus,  and is so holy  and righteous  that He always does  what is good and right — our LORD more than deserves  all the praise  we can muster  in every single situation — no matter how dire  it might be.

We might be very much afraid,  but God can work all things out  beyond our imagination.     We might not agree  with God’s ways,  but He alone  is the holy  and righteous One.     We don’t know enough  about anything  to argue with Him,  so it is always best  to trust  and praise Him.

When Jonah finally gave  the sacrifice of thanksgiving  and obediently preached,  Nineveh was saved  through repentance and faith.     It is true  that years later  Nineveh went back  to its idolatrous ways,  but the fact is  that the people God wanted  to save  at that time  were saved.

In the same way,  our sacrifices  of praise  and thanksgiving  will be a trusting obedience  that can do untold good — because we will be letting God’s will  be done — whatever the situation  might be.

As we praise God  for His loving ways,  we will say,  “Hallelujah!     The LORD is our salvation.”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

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The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

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The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

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Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

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How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

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Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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