“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called from help, and you listened to my cry.”‘ – Jonah 2: 1-2
The most important prayer we will ever pray is the prayer of salvation. It’s the prayer every follower of Jesus must pray. It’s recognizing our limitations, our flaws and our sins and choosing to believe that Christ paid it all on the cross. It’s believing that Jesus rose again, rescued us from the guilt of our sins and offered us eternal life with God.
In the story of Jonah, the prophet who ran from God’s calling, we see Jonah cry out to God as he’s tossed into the sea and sinking to his death. Yet even at his lowest point, God heard him and responded. Now, being swallowed by a huge fish probably wasn’t the ‘saving’ that Jonah had it mind, but it allowed him three days to think, reflect, and ultimately decide to stop running from God and start running with God.
Can you image all the thoughts going through Jonah’s head? Reflecting on his life and the choices that led him to that place, Jonah had a change of heart. From the belly of that great fish – Jonah’s rock bottom moment – Jonah prayed. Jonah thanked God for saving him and decided to stop running. As he asked God for forgiveness, he began to run back towards God.
Are you running from God? Maybe like Jonah, you need to step back and reevaluate the decisions that led to where you are today. Maybe you need to pray a prayer of redirection and ask God to refocus your life. Maybe it’s time to stop running FROM God and start running TOWARDS God. Then you’ll experience the joy of running with God. It makes all the difference in the world.