“When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.” Jonah 2:7
There is a glorious truth that is woven through the pages of Scripture. That truth is that God wants to hear from you now. Alas, many put off the intimacy of regular time in prayer with the Father until they are in desperate situations and they use Him as a last resort to the problems and conditions they are facing.
God is always present. God is always listening. All He needs is that heart surrendered to Him in faith, one who will seek His face, bow the knee before Him, and humbly pray.
Jonah, that famous prophet swallowed whole by a great fish, found himself in desperate need of prayer. With Jonah, as with many, the situation didn’t have to get this bad. He didn’t have to end up in this nasty position. He didn’t have to wait to seek God’s heart on the matter of prophesying to Ninevah. At any given time before this episode, he could have gone to the Lord in prayer. Perhaps then, his own heart for the people would have changed.
Yet, we will never know, because the story before us tells us the choice he made. He chose to run from God and as a result, he found himself in a place nobody would want to be.
It was in this place, where he finally prayed, and said, “I remembered the LORD.” The very God he tried so desperately to run away from, now in his darkest of times, he is seeking and he remembers. When he felt overwhelmed by his choices, overwhelmed by the sin those choices led to, and overwhelmed by the experience of his sinking plight, it was as if a spiritual light clicked on deep within him and he remembered the LORD. He remembered His Word. He remembered His promises. He remembered His love for His people. He remembered His faithfulness. He remembered His covenant. He remembered just how great a God he served! When he ran from God he forgot about all the wonders of God in his selfish pursuit, but now he remembers.
That remembering led to a heart that was ready to seek God in prayer. He wrote, “My prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.” When he cried out to God, his very cry reached the presence of God. God was listening. Sincere prayer reaches the ears of God. Although he had many opportunities to pray prior to being in the fish, the sincerity of his heart is now more real than ever as he reaches out to God in prayer.
The truth of the Bible is, God hears, but don’t wait until your situation is so desperate that you are at the point where you have no other choice than to pray. God is available with a listening ear at all times.
Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” Why is that? Because as breath is with the body, with each inhale and exhale, one’s life is sustained, so is the prayer line that fosters that interpersonal relationship between God and man. It is not only life-sustaining, but it is soul-sustaining, keeping that glorious love connection between the two open and flowing. And, as Jonah felt the time of his last breath drawing nearer, he then sought to reconnect with God once more through prayer, and he believed his prayer was heard. When we call out to God we too can believe that our prayers are heard, if we also have a sincere heart.
Prayer should never be our last go-to, get-out-of-whatever situation-free card. Prayer keeps us in holy connection with our holy Father. Open the lines of prayer in your life today. Do not wait for a more opportune time, or for an event that makes you fall to your knees.
Make no mistake, the Bible repeatedly tells us that God hears those desperate, urgent cries (Psalm 34:6; 39:7-8; 50:15), and I for one am so thankful He does. But our heavenly Father wants to hear from you now, in a consistent, daily walk of fellowship through prayer.
Keep God before your face and your heart in prayer. Foster that love line in your life and it may keep you out of some nasty situations.
“Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11
“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” Psalm 27:8
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