INTRO: Jonahs prayer constitutes a major part of the book of Jonah. Believing as I do that God does not waste words and space, I am convinced that this prayer is one of the major lessons of the entire book. No prayer was ever uttered in quite the same circumstances! Although verse by verse one finds gems of thought in this prayer, I want us to look at the whole prayer for its lessons to us.
I. IT WAS A PRAYER OUT OF AFFLICTION
A. 2:2 His affliction evoked a right response prayer
1. imagine the terror he experienced - the belly of hell
2. the floods, billows, waves swallowed him (2:3)
3. the weeds ensnared him (2:5)
4. he had reason to be terrified .. .was truly afflicted
B. But his affliction was Gods chastisement 2:3
1. Jonah recognizes it as such - Prov 3:12 and Ps 118:18
2. Bible does reveal that the righteous may expect chastening ... note Heb 12:6,7,10,11
3. how does one know - as Jonah did - if his affliction is Gods chastening?
4. perhaps primarily by introspection - affliction perhaps should provoke us to think about our lives ... is there some rebellion of such severity that God would chasten (Ps 119:59,67a)
C. Affliction will bring various responses
1. unspiritual person will be embittered, driven away
2. or one may respond with a feeling of stoic worthlessness ... what else could I expect?
3. or the response of Jonah who is brought closer to God
4. note 2:4
II. IT WAS A PRAYER OF FAITH
A. 2:1 Jonah prayed to the Lord his God
1. God was his only hope could do nothing for himself
2. Lk 18:1 the easiest thing? to faint!
B. When life tumbles in, pray in faith
1. there may well be nothing else one can do but God can
2. 1 Jno 5:14 His answer - to faithful people - will come
III. IT WAS A PRAYER OF CONFESSION
A. 2:8 He plainly states his own folly he confesses sin
1. his own experiences had recently been lying vanities
2. by his own behavior he had forsaken his own mercy
B. Such a confession is essential to restoration when weve strayed
1. Ps 51:1-3,12 identify rebellion, penitently ask forgiveness, be assured of the restoration
2.certainly 1 Jno 1:9 bears in this discussion
IV. IT WAS A PRAYER OF CONFIDENCE CENTERED IN GodS word
A. There are - apparently - seven references to Psalms here
1. Gods word becomes point of his attention in affliction
2. only of person with a history in relationship to God would we
find confidence and comfort in His word at such a time as this time of utter hopelessness
B. Perhaps we come to know Gods word best in trial and affliction
1. Ps 119:67,71 affliction drove him to Gods word
2. we may know a passage or truth ... but until we must depend on that passage or derive comfort from it, we dont really know it!
V. IT WAS A PRAYER OF OPTIMISM
A. 2:6c He spoke as if it had already been accomplished
1. in the gloom and terror of his situation hes optimistic
2. what a resilient spirit child of God can have!
B. To hear Christians with gloom and doom spirit is sad
1. Rom 8:31,38,39 there is always this ray of hope, light
2. in any and every distress we may know, The Lord is my helper (Heb 13:6)
VI. IT WAS A PRAYER OF DEDICATION
A. 2:9 Jonah was ready to put his feet back on Gods course
B. its a wonderful thing to see people whose devotion, dedication do not wane during trying times
CLOSE: When our afflictions come, the lessons of Jonahs prayer can help us respond constructively and positively. When our souls faint within us, remember the Lord!
Cecil A. Hutson
01 September 2002
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)