Answered Prayer (Jonah #7)

Text: Jonah 2:10

Jonah goes into the water.  Jonah prays.  Jonah dies.  Jonah is swallowed by a well and Jonah prays out of hell.  We looked at some things Jonah did wrong in regards to praying, but in spite of all of that, Jonah’s prayer is answered.  And that is why people pray, to get an answer.

God listens

  • God’s response to Jonah’s prayer is to speak to the whale.  We call it answered prayer, but I don’t know that we think of answered prayer as God literally answering by speaking.
  • There is opportunity in prayer
    • Opportunity because of who God is – a Father
    • James 5:17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are
      • Why add that caveat?  Because it tells us that Elijah was just a man.  You have problems?  Well, he had problems too.  Bible characters are not comic book heroes.  One temptation of the devil is to think of the people you and I read about lived on a higher level you and I do.
      • God is AVAILABLE for you and I just like He was for Elijah.
      • Hebrews 4:14-16 – time of need.  I’m guilty of saying you shouldn’t just be praying in time of need.  There is something wrong with that:  When are you not in need of God’s help?
      • Regret is going to be with the Lord and realizing the opportunity that was set before us in prayer that we didn’t take advantage of. We serve a living God who says, Ye have not because ye ask not.
    • Opportunity for God to work
      • An invitation for the Lord to work.  That is exactly what prayer is.  Prayer is asking.
      • Ephesians 3:14-21 (bow my knees unto the Father…)
    • Opportunity to ask
  • Ye have not because you ask not.

Prayer changes things

  • We could search the scriptures to find a prophecy that would say something about Jonah, and something about a whale swallowing him and such, but it’s not there.  Why is that important?  It shows you that prayer changes things.  Implication being that had Jonah not prayed, nothing would’ve happened.
  • Fatalists say God would’ve got Jonah to Nineveh anyway.  I completely disagree.  The reason Jonah’s prayer is recorded in the Bible is to show you and I that God makes decisions based on the prayers of his people.  And if that weren’t the case, your Bible would’ve been written a lot different.  Take that back, you wouldn’t need a Bible because God would be doing whatever He wants to be doing anyway and you’d just be an automaton.  You wouldn’t need wisdom, or judgement, or faith, or love or the opportunity to pray and find grace to help in time of need.
  • One thing I notice about answered prayer in the Bible is the implication is that the particular event would not have happened had someone not prayed.
    • Joshua stops the sun in battle in Joshua 10:13
    • Elijah makes the rain stop for 3 ½ years and then begin again.
    • Hezekiah prays for deliverance from the Assyrians and in the morning 185,000 Assyrian warriors lay dead around Jerusalem.
    • Daniel’s prayers and answers
    • Answered prayer means you got a hold of the Creator of all things and He agreed with you and moved in a direction you wanted Him to.
    • Prayer made the difference
  • Answered prayer is effective
    • We want to know our prayers are effective.
    • Effective means it moves God to work – Jonah 2:2 …he heard methou heardest my voice.
    • Effective is in accordance with God’s will – 1 John 5:14
    • Effectual is something specific – John 14:13
  • Fervent (Committed)
    • Maybe your prayers are dull and dead, vain repetitions.  Get some fire in them.  Get a hold of God as if He’s the only one that can do anything about it because in the end, He’s the only one that can do anything about it.
    • Jonah needs to get a hold of God who is the only one who can do anything about his situation.

God’s answers are not always what we expect, but they are always what we need

  • The answer to Jonah’s prayer was a nauseated whale
    • Could’ve been answered one of two ways
  • Praying for the grace of God