Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly,
2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God.
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.
10 And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
Imprisoned in the odiferous belly of God’s rescue submarine, unable to run away, a seaweed-crowned Jonah turned to prayer.
It was a prayer of faith and praise. Though still encased in blubber, Jonah staked his life on God’s character. He believed that God had heard his prayer and would rescue him, even though he was still an unwilling captive of the sea.
Though his runaway heart had created these dire circumstances, he recognized that God had spared him. He believed in what God could do before it ever happened. In spite of his fishy dwelling, he chose to praise God for future blessings.
When pain and trauma have swallowed you whole, when you are in the depths of despair, pray faith; pray hope; pray praise. Believe in what God will do before He does it. Claim victory while cloaked in defeat. As a prisoner of pain, praise amidst the pain. It is the key to freedom.
When you can’t run away, when there is no viable way out, pray! Trust God’s merciful heart. He has countless ways to rescue you, to set you free.
Let faith be your escape route. Let praise be your passport to freedom!
Chaplain (currently disabled), Eugene, Oregon USA