Pastors Letter – March 28, 2020 – Prayer, Jonah Style

When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

Jonah 2:7

We’ve probably thought more about prayer than ever over the last week and a half. With that in mind, I knew I wanted to give you something from the prophets today. So I went immediately to the book of Jonah, my favorite writing prophet on the subject of prayer. Not that he teaches directly about prayer but his application of prayer is what is so wonderful.

Actually, the entire book is laced with prayer. Allow me to outline the significant prayer events in Jonah.

  • The Ship Master, [1:6] So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
  • The Sailors, [1:14] Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.
  • Jonah, [2:1-2] Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly, 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.
  • The King of Ninevah, [3:8] But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
  • Jonah, [4:2] And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

One of the interesting features of these verses is that Jonah is the only one who is said to pray. The others (the Ship Master, the sailors, the king) all use the word “call.” This of course speaks to the intimacy that the child of God has when addressing heaven’s throne.

Prayer Requests: The prayer request today comes from the IMB Prayer List. Please pray for the Gujarati of India.

(goo-juh-RAH-tee) – A believer named Sanjay* recently shared the gospel with a Muslim man named Arpan* and his family who live about five minutes from Sanjay’s home. Upon hearing the gospel, that entire family–and their next-door neighbors–believed! Now Arpan has been sharing his testimony far and wide, and Sanjay has been busy sharing, training, and discipling. Pray for these two men, as well as those they disciple, to bear much fruit for the kingdom of God! “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told” (Habakkuk 1:5 ESV). (*names changed)

Music: Tenor Philip Webb and the Grace Community Choir and Orchestra.

Poem: Another one from George Herbert.

Trinity Sunday 
by George Herbert

Lord, who hast form'd me out of mud,
And hast redeem'd me through thy blood,
And sanctifi'd me to do good;

Purge all my sins done heretofore:
For I confess my heavy score,
And I will strive to sin no more.

Enrich my heart, mouth, hands in me,
With faith, with hope, with charity;
That I may run, rise, rest with thee.

Catechism: The Principles of the Christian Religion.

  • Questioin 25: Will the good Angels fall hereafter?
  • Answer: No: but they shall always continue in their holiness and happiness.
  • Question 26: Will the wicked Angels ever recover their first estate?
  • Answer: They shall not: but be tormented in Hell, world without end.
  • Questions 27: How did God deal with men after he made them?
  • Answer: He made a covenant with Adam, and in him with all mankind.

Be well, beloved. If you need anything just call me or your deacon. All my best!

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

Jonah 3:9

Published by David B. Smith

Author, podcaster, pastor, and Big Pappa to my grandchildren.

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