A Tale to Wail
"or what to pray when you find yourself swallowed up by BIG circumstances"
I. CALL ON GOD rather than complaining or blaming "Help Lord!"
1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.
2 He said: "In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
II. CONFESS "You've let me reap the consequences of my decisions"
3 You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me.
III. EXPRESS CONFIDENCE
A. CONFIDENCE in God's PLAN "You have plans for me to give me a future and a hope."
4 I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'
B. CONFIDENCE in God's POWERFUL PROTECTION "I can never get myself so deeply into a mess that you can't get me out of."
5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God.
C. CONFIDENCE in God's PERSON & PROMISES "God is who He said He is and will do what He said He'll do."
7 "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
D. CONFIDENCE in God's PRINCIPLES "My highest good lies in the direction of obedience to the will of God."
8 "Those who cling to worthless vanities forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
IV. COMMIT TO CONSECRATION "Whatever you say I'll do."
9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord."
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Questions for Discussion:
1. How would you categorize Jonah's prayer (petition, lament, praise, etc.)
2. What's our instinctive response to being overwhelmed? Is there ever a place for complaining and blaming?
3. What happens when we omit any of the procedures listed above?
4. Why do we have trouble expecting God's plan for us will be "good"? Which is the most difficult for you?
5. What are some of the "worthless vanities" we are tempted to cling to?