Prayers from the Deep

Do you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of to-dos, tangled in seaweed laundry, over-run with house work, yard work, paper work?

I understand. I’ve been there. Often. But there is hope.

Look at Jonah. Things were so bad for him that when he got into the belly of the big fish he praised God because it was an improvement. Jonah nearly drowned. Being in the whale kept him alive.

What surprises me most are Jonah’a words. He’s inside a slimy fish yet he’s praying to God and praising Him. In Jonah 2:9 he says, “ But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” He’s inside a creature in the depths of the sea talking to God.

That’s the answer. Talk to God from your drowning place.

When our four children still lived at home and we farmed, raised sheep, cattle, chickens, and more I sometimes felt overwhelmed. My initial response, sadly, was to yell. Gradually I learned when I sensed the crushing pressure I needed to pray. My kids joke about it now, but they knew when I went into my room, closed the door and huddled in a ball on the floor on the far side of my bed, they should leave me alone. That was my belly-of-the-whale spot.

From there I cried out to God to help me, to give me strength and wisdom, to teach me to do what God wanted me to do, nothing more and nothing less, with joy.

I’m happy to say I made it through the child rearing stage. You can, too. Jesus mediates for us. Because of Him we can boldly go to God with all of our concerns and heartaches.

Jonah started out in chapter two telling God about sinking and nearly drowning. God already knew all of this, but it helped Jonah to articulate it. Then in verse seven Jonah says, “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple.”

How much better if we focus on praising God all through the day. My mom had a friend who once told her, “You should be praising God before your feet hit the floor in the morning.” I have tried to practice that, asking God to help me to remember Him throughout the day.

One way I sustain that is to play Christian music. I catch myself singing along and the song becomes a prayer. In I Thessalonians 5:17 Paul reminds us to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

The more we focus on God, the less time we spend crying out from the depths, the more we rejoice in all we do.

After Jonah praised God and thanked Him, God had the fish spit Jonah onto dry land 2:10.

Jonah still had work to do and so do we. Go on your way rejoicing. Thank God you’re not in Shamu’s tummy.