Pray Like It Matters

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Hey, if you’re visiting with us for the first time, we are glad that you’re with us because you’re joining us in the beginning of a series that we are studying in the book of Jonah. Together we are in chapter two there’s four chapters in Jonah. We’re taking one chapter per week and going through the story of Jonah and if you know anything about Jonah, chances are as soon as I said the word Jonah, an image probably popped up in your mind of which you think is central to the theme of Jonah and that image was what? Who said, MSL? Well, it’s a. I’m just kidding. We’re not going to splice it hears it. It’s most likely a whale, but, but the scripture just tells us it’s a fish or something ginormous, right? I’m going to just go with the Loch ness monster. I think we’ve got Liberty here because the Bible’s not specific.

All right, but this giant fish eats Jonah and swallows him and that’s typically the way that we think of the story of Jonah. It’s about this guy and this fish. But really as we go through this series together, when you think about the significant things that are found in the story of Jonah, um, when we get to the end of this, my hope is and desire, we’re going to think through this critically together and that when you prioritize the significant things, the life of Jonah, that fish be like fifth or less on your list of what Jonah is about. In fact, I’m already pushing this for the vote. If we’re talking about animals or creatures that are the most scary in this book, fish doesn’t even when it’s the worm in chapter four, he has a worm that comes up and eats an entire tree and kills it.

Like, I don’t know what kind of worm that takes, but for me, I immediately think of Kevin bacon in trimmers, right? It just, whatever that thing is, burrs, the ground devours the tree. Jonah get out. You got to get on a rock and you need some dynamite. That’s what I learned. But, but that worm to me is more powerful than the fish. I mean, fish eating someone that’s, that’s realistic. Worm killing tree. I don’t know how big that Werner mass the Biba, so, but when you think their journey, there are things that even even more specific about that that are important to the story. Uh, for example, on chapter three, Jonah shares a message. It’s not even a long message. It’s like just a few short words and he sees an entire city, thousands and thousands of people the most, one of the most we can places in all the world come to know the Lord and put their faith in him.

And that’s pretty significant. I think more important than all of that. What we discover in this story is that the story is really about a journey of a man, his relationship with God. He starts off the story is rebellious individual and then in chapter three he shows that he can be a religious individual. He, he sorta goes through the motions of what he’s told to do, but he never tell. He gives us heart to God, but yet God is gracious to him and all of that. In fact, you see that as the theme in, in chapter one, as the story unfolded for us. Like God calls. Joanie says, go to Nineveh. None of us, one of the most violent places in the world. They’ve actually attacked Israel a few times already. Now it’s in, it’s in modern day Iraq, in the Northwest part of Iraq.

These are people that are a violent people. These are people that have come against his own people and God’s called them to go into the city and preach this message. And if you look at the message Jonah has to preach, it’s sorta summarizes like Turner bird. I mean you can think about being the most unpopular guy in the room and a short life expectancy. It would be going into a place, violent place and sharing that message. It would almost maybe be similar to to a place where ISIS has a strong holding control and you go in and say you’re a Christian and and on top of that you’re a Christian American. It’s like, uh, probably probably not going to fly in that typical situation. So Jonah thinks about it for about two seconds. It’s like, okay, I’m good to Nineveh, which is like 500 miles across the desert where I got my cousin down in long beach.

He’s got us placed on the sand next to the ocean. I can watch it all day. So he jumps on the boats and heads the Tarsus, right? He’s like, I am how they here. See you later. But what you see about Jonah in leaving is that verse three verse five when he gets onto the boat and chapter one it says, it doesn’t say he got on the boat and verse three it says, he went down into the boat and he didn’t board it. He went down in it. And then in verse five again, while while the storm’s going on, sailors are freaking out. If you’re ever on a boat and the sailors are going crazy, you know it’s time to panic, right? But Jonah, it tells us again that he went down into the depth of the boat and what the author’s doing in the story is he’s, he’s giving us a play on words of where Joan is unconditioned.

He has this idea for going down literally means he’s, he’s taking a step towards death. I mean, Jonah’s depressed, spiritually separated from God. He’s at his low point in life. But then something incredible happens in verse 17 you see, as the story unfolds, there’s a crazy storm, sailors going crazy. They’re trying to figure out what’s going wrong. They’re worshiping their false gods, trying to figure this out. And then Jonah, he, he’s woken up and they’re like, why are you not panicking like us? He’s like, I serve the God of the land and the sea. Like you’re going after these demigods. You think the sea God or the land God or the fertility God or the crop God’s mad at. You know, it’s the, it’s the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and he’s coming after me. You guys have to throw me overboard. And they’re like, we’re not throwing you overboard.

You’re crazy for even getting on board, but we’re going to try to save your life. And eventually they get to the place where they, they throw Jonah over. And then it says in verse 17 something something very powerful about the theme. I think of what chapter a chapter one is and it says this, and the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah. Now, typically, if we were getting eaten by a fish, we might think to ourselves, I’m like, I’m cursed. There’s something wrong. This is not good. But in Jonah’s life, this was a glorious, gracious thing that God is doing. And this is what it’s saying. The text here says, had appointed, right?

The theme of Jonah’s is teaching us really that you, you can run from God, but you can’t outrun God. Meaning Johnny gets on this boat and we see God running after Jonah. But then at the same time, at the end of the chapter, it’s telling us, and Jay and God is already before Jonah when he got, isn’t blown away by the mistakes Jonah had made. And if you say anyone had blown it, it’s someone who hears the audible voice of God and just does the exact opposite of what the Lord wants. When you’re blowing a channel, that’s the legit, because before you had even messed up, before you had even disobeyed, God already knew what was in your heart. And God had already appointed a fish before the foundation of the world. I think God had created this fish knowing that one day it was going for Jonah. What it says to us, no matter how deep or or in dismay or mess your life may be, it’s not too far from the mercy and love of God. Not only is God pursuing you for relationship with you, he is already before you got us as a pointed a fish. So a scripture tells us that Jonah isn’t the only one that has a fish. You do too.

In fact, in the gospels, an unbelieving, unrepentant generation of wicked individuals, as Jesus called him and Matthew and Luke, they kept coming to Jesus, say, give us a sign. Show us that you’re Messiah. And Jesus tells him, I’m only going to give you one side. It’s the sign of Jonah. Three days and three nights, just as journey was in the belly of the will. So will the son of man be in the heart of the earth. God has already appointed for you the place for you to meet with him and a place where you Contin continue to interact with his grace and experience his presence because of what God has done for you. This, this theme of the story of Jonah and once you get the story of Jonah in the Bible is a, is a big, a large book in comparison to Jonah. But when you see the theme of Jonah, what you see as the overarching principles that hold all of scripture together just in the life of Jonah and what God is about in his pursuit with us and redemption, mankind, even when we enemies of him, even when we’re rebellious against him, even when we’re religious and no heart and participation in surely wanting to worship the God, Jonah is the theme of scripture.

I think the, the idea and the theme of what, what Joey is about is the reason the Jewish people on their most sacred day, Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, the only day they go into the Holy of Holy place in their temple to sacrifice. It’s, it’s the reason on this day they read the book of Jonah and when it’s complete, they say in unison. Together we are Jonah. So the point of Jonah isn’t about a fish. Fish is just a tool. It’s about a man’s journey in his walk with God and how God uses us in our circumstance for his glory as we walk with him in that journey together. And what you see is in a chapter one comes along is that God even uses storms in our lives. How many in your life has been like, man, I have been through some storms, right? Uh, physically I like storms spiritually. Um, I can appreciate storms only in this sense. Um, I grew up in the South or in the East and the, some of the South. I kind of bounced around a little bit as a kid. And, um, there is nothing like a South Eastern thunderstorm, if you’ve ever been around that, you know what I’m talking about? Where are you? You’re, you’re outside one day in this field and there’s only one tree around and you’re on the Tai Hollis tell us point and all of a sudden you feel the wind blow and the static electricity is so strong, the hair on your arms is just standing up straight and you’re like, Aw, no, I got get a wave.

It’s that part of the storm you don’t like. But when I was a kid, my grandmother used to, as, as kids not really caring about storms and still just loving the rain, she would call us ends. We wouldn’t get struck by lightning. And the way that she would tempt us, she would say in the South, I mean, I’m from everywhere. They drink sweet tea, right? So the way she would tempt us as she would make warm sweet tea with a little bit of milk in it, she call her all to her grandkids. And then the deep South like, um, front porches. There’s a, like a must have, you know, um, you’ve gotta have those wraparound, I mean that’s, that’s just the picture of the colonial style home, just the wraparound porch. And so she had this big old porch and I remember us as kids, we would come in and we would just be sipping our sweet tea with our grandmother who preserves our life and, and we would just watch the storms roll in and the wind blow and some of the rain coming under and the static electricity is moving through your body.

I mean, it was incredible experience to see the joy of a storm, but from the place of protection, even in our own lives in a personal way. I mean, I know I’ve heard multiple people say, you know, I’ve gone through storms in my life and I would never choose to do it again. But because of that storm, God has molded me into the person I am today. Matter of fact, some of you may point to those storms that were the very reason I even brought you before the Lord. [inaudible] that’s what Jonah chapter two is.

Jonah through a storm finds himself and I think even in a worse circumstance now in the belly of a fish. But he recognizes that this, this fish was ordained or appointed by God, not for his destruction but for his good. And so Jonah, in running from God now begins to ask the question, how can I, how can I run to God? How do we run to God? He’s physically in front of you and the answer in Jonah’s life, I think the answer for us is it’s found in prayer. No matter how deep you’re in it, you can always pray. Jonah teaches us even from the belly of a well, and what we learned about prayer is that even good prayer, some of the greatest prayers are born in an adversity, whether it was your fault or not, just just that need of desperation and that ability to cry out to God. And what you see when you look at prayer, people who have lived some of the hardest lives are facing adversity or oftentimes some of the best prayer warriors in this world.

So today I want to talk to you about prayer. That’ll be honest. When you mentioned the idea of of discussing prayer and a group full of [inaudible] of people, it’s I know not everyone’s in that place where they want to discuss prayer. In fact, you might just look at it, roll your head, and they are, man, why are we going to talk about prayer? Understand we need to pray so we should pray, so why pray questioning why is, why should we even pray? Well, why should we even discuss prayer now? I think when we respond that way, it really starts to reveal condition within our heart. Maybe the condition of our heart and David Platt, when he batted the question of why people ask why we should even pray this is this was his response because people questioned it because you don’t need to pray when you’re watching TV.

You don’t need to pray when you’re mindlessly surfing the internet. You don’t need prayer when there is nothing at stake in your Christianity. You don’t need prayer when there is no risk in your Christianity. You don’t need prayer. When Christianity consists of monotonous religious motions, you don’t need prayer for that. You can do it on your own, but when you risked everything to glorify Jesus Christ, you need prayer. When you sacrifice possession, dreams, hopes, and career, and you lay it all out on the line and you stick your reputation down on your allegiance to Christ, you need prayer. When you, you’re longing day in and day out is to lead people to Christ. You need prayer. You rely on prayer. You’re desperate for prayer because you’re devoted to his mission and when the aim of your life is to affect as many people as possible with the gospel of Christ, for the glory of God, you will find yourself given over to prayer and just consider, this is kind of pointed, maybe a little sharp, maybe. Maybe we aren’t praying. If we’re not, maybe we’re not praying because maybe we’re boring and honestly, maybe we’re really not living life or maybe we’re blind to see how dependent we really are on the Lord. Or maybe because we don’t see our dependency. We aren’t thankful for what God gives, or maybe we just don’t care. We don’t care if God’s work is accomplished and we don’t care if we’re a part of it. I don’t know. There’s many reasons why, why we could describe possibility, why we struggle with prayer, why we might not pray, but let me, let me just, let’s just consider this for a moment. What if you only had in life to things you pray for and what if we could peel back the curtain? We can say, okay, we’re going to take it back. We’re going to take back from your life. We’re going to take back and away from your life. Anything you didn’t mention in prayer or anything you weren’t thankful for God for in prayer? What I mean? Well, how far would that strip your life down when you consider what prayer is?

The Bible tells us or points to the fact that prayer, as you think through this, prayer doesn’t exist for God. Prayer is not for him because there’s nothing that God needs. He’s not dependent on us calling on him. He doesn’t need for us to cry out to him. Prayer, prayer doesn’t exist for God rather. What that makes it for us is that is that we recognize then in prayer that prayer is a, is a gift for you. Prayer is a sacred opportunity to interact with the one who’s created you with in his image so that you can respond in relationship to him.

Prayer. Then for us, it’s precious when you consider prayer and how to pray. The Bible gives us all sorts of ways in describing prayer and what makes prayer important and how people pray throughout scripture. In fact, if you look at in your bullets this morning, you’ll see there’s connection group questions in question three in there deals with going through particular, uh, prayers that are mentioned in scripture. What Jesus taught us to pray John 17 and Matthew, uh, Matthew six and verse nine or, or the way Paul prayed and you have the focus, the focus of their prayer.

It was often much broader than we tend to pray. In fact, if we get honest with our prayer, we ask the question. I mean, what if you only kept what you pray for? And we get honest with prayer a lot of times when we pray. We really pray only because we need something, meaning we pray in a very niche sort of way. There’s something I specifically need. So therefore I go to God and I tell servant God, my servant, my puppet master, what he needs to do for me because I am in charge and he is my slave, right? So we treat prayer sorta in that way. Like it’s, it’s almost abusive towards God that the only time I interact with him is when I need something and I’m making him do or I call out to him to do what I want because I am his servant or he is.

He is my sir. Excuse me. Will you see in the context of prayer is that prayer is much broader than that in scripture. It doesn’t just involve telling God what we need in life, but, but there’s all sorts of aspects to praying before the Lord. And then Jesus even said in Matthew, end of chapter, Matthew, Matthew chapter five at the end and in chapter six Jesus describes individuals and praying and what they’re doing wrong and why it’s about religious performance or appearance and what’s wrong with their prayer. And then Jesus says in Matthew six nine instead you pray this way.

Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. Jesus leads us through prayer and as you think through the prayer that Jesus introduces to his disciples, it’s first acknowledging the position of God and that the moment, this moment is sacred, this moment is Holy coming, hallowed be your name, the sacred God that we get to come before and the focus of the prayer isn’t just coming to him and telling him what you want, but rather aligning our hearts with his kingdom. Your kingdom come, your will be done. That the gift of this isn’t for me to tell you what to do but me to join you on your mission in this world. The prayer is not God forcing of being forced to align himself with our hearts, but us aligning our hearts with his. Paul described it this way in Ephesians chapter six and verse 18 with all prayer and petition, pray at all times in the spirit. What does that mean to pray in the spirit? It’s simply saying that you’re aligning your heart with God’s desires in this world that you will be used for his kingdom, his glory and his goodness. The reason for what you were created as a light and image bearer of him to those around you, God, whatever it takes to be on that page, on mission for you, your kingdom, your glory, that I would join in that, that this this day that I see it as a gift for all that you are with all that I am for you as my King. Jonah tells us, John chapter one or excuse me, chapter two verse one then Jonah, pray, pray to the Lord his God from the stomach, the fish.

Jonah in this moment of doubt, recognizes the significance of his ability to come before God and he describes for us really where this prayer takes place. The belly of the well, yeah, ask the question, where is it that we are supposed to pray in our lives? The Bible tells us in Matthew five and six that what Jesus doesn’t want us to do is just to pray for appearance and and to be boastful before individuals, but rather find a closet. Pray privately. I mean, it’s a sacred thing. It’s not about making yourself look good. It’s about connecting to God. It’s not that we can’t pray publicly, we can, but the motivation of the heart is what drives it and we’re looking here and Jonah and he’s, he just says, even from the belly of the, well, it doesn’t matter. The location doesn’t matter. It’s the attitude.

Bible tells us first Corinthians three 16 and six 19 that you are the temple of God, which means this, wherever you go, presence of God is with you. It’s not the building that makes it special. In fact, it’s not even you that makes it special. That’s what Jesus has done for you that makes it special. The only reason we’re able to connect to God wherever we are has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with Jesus and what he’s done. So when can we pray and how do we pray? We pray. We pray at any moment. Anytime. The Bible says first Thessalonians five 17, pray without CC, without ceasing. It’s not this idea of you cannot talk to anyone now because you’re in constant prayer mode and you know, you’re walking around and someone says, hi, sorry, I’m in prayer. I’m praying without ceasing today.

First Thessalonians five 17, look it up. You know, that’s not, it’s not what that means, but rather this idea of praying without ceasing this time of year, you know what it’s like to get the cold right? Get that cough that you can’t get rid of this morning. My throat is struggling and, and uh, and it’s just this reminder constantly this cough that will just come back that you wrestle with. That’s what it means to pray without ceasing. It’s walking in this world continually aware of the presence of God with you and interacting with him as you go throughout this day. So when we pray, how we pray, the Bible desires that your heartbeat, one of prayer towards the recognition of God’s presence in your life. And I could give you an outline, a structure on the way prayers break down in scripture. But can I tell you, I think sometimes when we explore that, it takes away from the main theme of what prayer is about.

Meaning I could give you a formal outline, but formality sometimes becomes the enemy to intimacy and the greatest gift of prayer gifts to us, it’s intimacy with God. What makes prayer so special isn’t the formality. It’s the thought that you, by God’s grace, are given access to him. It’s a gift and it’s so sacred. We arrived to God in prayer because of what he has done for us. I think when, when Paul wrote these words in Hebrews chapter four verse 16 and I think this is a Jew writing to the Jews and he’s thinking a picture of the temple here, which in the temple, only the high priest went into the sacred place, the place, God’s presence. Just one man one time a year.

And then Paul, now Paul now pins these words. I could imagine how excited he would have been to pin these words, but, but how, how sacred this moment would have been, how powerful he thought it was. And then he says this, talking about prayer, come boldly to the throne of grace.

You think in Jonah’s life, I mean, if anyone doesn’t deserve prayer, if anyone has blown it, it’s, it’s one who is claiming to be a leader for God, a prophet of God who ignores God and runs away. Jonah. You blown it. You get no shot. That’s it. God’s done with you. You’re the last person God wants to hear from. Right. When Paul writes these words in the Hebrews chapter four he’s writing it to believers in the midst of temptation, talking about our own struggles in life, and at the end of that, that’s where he then says, come boldly to the throne of grace. I mean, you know what it’s like when you’ve blown it, whether you’ve done it publicly, privately, whatever it is, you fall on your face. You think about the Lord. You’re like, why does God want to hear from me, Scott? I want to talk to lowly me. The answer is it’s because of him, his grace, his gift, his mercy, his goodness.

That’s why whenever, wherever you are, prayer becomes a beautiful way in which to come before God and utter your position and need before him and then confess. In fact, when you look, if I were to give you a formality in scripture, some people have gone through the Bible and looked at the ways prayers are mentioned in the Bible and they’ve come up with an acronym of, of, of one word to describe it. It’s act, okay, adoration, confession, Thanksgiving, and supplication. I mean you, you, you adore. God. You confess before God, you’re thankful to God and you ask God to supply. When you look in Jonah chapter or chapter two verse two Jonah takes the approach of confession before the Lord because of where he is and how his decision to rebel against God has left him separated from the Lord in relationship to him, and so he says, they said, I called out of my distress to the Lord.

Look, he didn’t ignore me and my sinfulness, but rather he answered me kind for help from the depth of SHEEO, which is the place of the dead, and you heard my voice. Jonah chooses confession. What we look at in scripture is this, Psalm 51 verse 17 says, a broken and contrite heart, Oh God, you will not despise. Jesus even said in Matthew five three blessed are the poor in spirit, God’s presence with us in prayer.

Jonah goes on from there and in verse three he says, before you had cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas and the current engulfed me, all your breakers and billows passed over me. It’s interesting the way that Jonah describes this. Verse three because you read chapter one and you see when Jonah recognized the storm was caused through him and his disobedience to God, he tells the sailors to throw him over. The sailors don’t want to at first, but eventually they realize their life is going to go down if they don’t get rid of Jonah. And so the sailors throw him over. But here it says in verse three for you, God cast me into the deep, into the heart of the sea and the current engulfs me.

What Joan is acknowledging in this moment is that God’s sovereign hand is over and above all of these moments that he hears him. He is before him. He is behind him, that God, God is with him in all of this. And then Jonah describes him verse the verse four to seven his his position before the Lord. He just wants to cry out where he is before God. And don’t break these down into just two thoughts, but he says, so I said, I have been expelled from your side. Nevertheless, I will look again toward your Holy temple.

Water encompasses me to the point of death. The great deep engulf me. Weeds are wrapped around my head. I descended into the roots of the mountain, the earth with its bars or what was around me forever. But you have brought up my life from the pit. Oh Lord my God. Well, I was fainting away. I remember the Lord and my prayer came to you into your Holy temple.

Joan is acknowledging in verse four and seven his his interaction and where it’s brought him and God’s hand of grace. He says in verse four they he’s been expelled from God’s sight, yet God’s grace, I will look towards your temple. Verse seven I’m fainting. I remember the Lord and came to you and then into your Holy temple that in his position he found himself walking in death from God, but before the Lord finds himself in the hands of grace, God had prepared a fish. I’m talking about the temple. It’s in the Jewish mind, the presence of where God is and the life of the believer, his presence, his promise there with us. Verse five and six, then Jonah that gives a physical description of the spiritual condition. He’s in the water to the point of death. Weeds are around him, but he recognizes the end of verse six. You have brought me up my life from the pit.

Joan is acknowledging before God where we get apart from him and what makes pers like NIF significant to our lives.

Can I tell you maybe one of the hopes when we read a text like this, all of us can look at the story of Jonah and be like, man, I have, I have been to a place where Jim has been, I mean, you think of your life, you, you know, there was a moment where you were praying like no other, like you have never prayed before because of circumstances you’ve gone through. I think in my own life, which is what led me a lot to, to decision that eventually brought me to Utah was when I was 19. I went and served overseas and uh, just this Christian work going on and, and this tribal group in this jungle area got mad at the group that I was with and they came to the home to take care of business. I mean literally pitchforks and torches and I’m the only one there.

And I looked down the Hill and I see this mob coming up this Hill where I am in this home and I run in, I run in and I lock all the doors and the windows are barred and the doors are like these steel thick doors. But I locked the doors in every room of the house has these, all these deadbolt thick steel doors to them. So I go in the bedroom where I’m at, I’ll lock the doors, I hit my knees and I pray. The craziest thing happened. I’m like three seconds into prayer and I fall asleep. Some people might say passed out, but whatever happened, you think in that moment, I’m just so concerned, you know, all the adrenaline would be pumping. Like today is my last day on there. That’s the way it felt. And then I hit my knees and I start praying.

Next thing I know, I wake up the next morning, sun’s up and I go to the front door and unlock it and I step outside and as soon as I step outside, the first thing I encounter are police officers there. They’re like blown away or I step in and they look at me. They’re like, there was a person, they all came up because they heard this, what this tribal’s going to do up in this area? And they’re surprised that someone’s one alive, but two that they’re inside this building. I come walking out from the outside facility and they’re looking at me. I’m like, yes. He goes, I don’t run down the Hill. I’ll jump in a cabin. I was Alice out of there.

The God shows up in those times. It’s true in the moments of the, well, what can I tell you and maybe encourage you, um, not to be so fooled that we are that dependent on God every day. I mean, sometimes the well helps us recognize it, but even when we’re not aware of it, that’s the dependency all of us really have in our creator God who sustains all things. And so when we talk about the prayer of gender, we’re not just talking about that one difficult moment in life, which I hope, I hope this encourages you just to continue to seek God in those things, but to see the need for the Lord in our lives every day. In fact, in verse eight gender then begins to reflect, I think of the sailors on the ship that he was with and he says this, those who regard vain idols for sake their faithfulness.

I think he’s thinking of sailors on the ship who were Wars being the false idols, recognizing that they’re not going to provide in that situation. But then he says this in verse nine but I will sacrifice to you with the voice of Thanksgiving, that which I have vowed I will pay. And then he says, salvation is from the Lord.

Salvation is belongs to the Lord. You don’t earn it, you don’t achieve it. But by his grace, it is both behind you before you. God’s God’s grace is sufficient for us in that because it belongs the hem and his strength and then it gives us this gross verse. Then the Lord commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land. Anytime I get sick, if that happens, it’s a fail. I consider that a fail.

Now, this has nothing to do with any spiritual, but I think it will help us in the leading in the next week. But could you picture this moment like you’re the guy on the beach, took a day off work. You’re like, man, I need a break today, and then all of a sudden, all of a sudden this moment happens and I don’t know. I’ve never seen what a person might look like after three days and stomach acid, but I’m going to guess maybe a little pigment gone, maybe a little hair gone. It’s probably a sign of the apocalypse, right? Something, something scary there and that’s what’s happening on the beach. And the guy’s also now learning a lesson on prayer. But in summary of all this, let me, let me give you just some thoughts about prayer.

You get prayer when you approach God not because of what you’ve done, but because of what he has done for you. We’ve become prayerful people when we realize we are desperate, needy, dependent. We see it as God’s gift as a way to connect. Well at the same time, you are never more loved, cared for and heart heard, and when you’re in prayer and in fact in Romans, this is why it describes the spirit that NGLs believers and says in the same way the spirit also helps our weakness for we do not know how to pray as we should. You ever get to that place where you’re in a, you’re in a place where you’re so excited or you’re so, you’re so sad within your heart that there’s, there’s not even an English word. There’s not even a word period. Even describe it. Your soul is aching. Her soul is rejoicing. It says this, but the spirit intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, just sitting before the presence of God. When in your heart to connect to his.

No, never is your heart more heard? Never you more listened to Psalm 51 17 a broken and contrite spirit. The Lord will not despise God cares. You see that in the story of Jonah, an imperfect man that God uses to reach the world, God also doing a work in him. Prayer becomes a part of it. If you think about what God calls us to in this world, you see God working in the life of journey in this moment and God’s called him to be a light to this world and he goes on to Nineveh and shares this message and sees thousands of people come to know him.

Yeah. God’s given all of us the same calling to be image bearers of God’s life, to be image bearer of God, light for him in this world and and to share his, his truth in love and to care for those as Christ cares for him in this world. Sometimes that may involve storms for us to wake up in it, but the chains on the back end of that is is beautiful, but God, God calls all of us to be this light and to be honest, if we care about it and we live in it, we recognize just how much we need God to walk with us through it. We will become a prayerful people.

Let me just open it this way. How can we be a people that see a change in this world? How can we be a people of light that pushes back darkness, the season, the end of evil? How? How does that happen? Can I do HSA? Maybe one of my heroes that inspires me in the way that he lived life? He gave this quote, which is a great practical quote at any point wherever you are in life, but he says this silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Meaning if you choose to be quiet, that’s still a stand and when you let innocent suffer by being silent, silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless not to speak, is to speak and not to act, is to act. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

No, that that’s important, right? I mean it tells you as a Christian, if you’re the light of the world, you have the truth and then take a stance. Live for what’s right. Don’t, don’t be silent and don’t be annoying either. Love people, right? Do that and the Bible can tell, tells you, pray for your enemies. Let me think. Even this past week we had a lot of political change in our country and people have all kinds of opinions on it. What can I tell you this guys, if we hand over what God has called us to be, to some political ruler, as if they’re going to make the change, we’ve already lost the battle.

Political leaders, well, let’s just say American. They’re not going to change your country. You are. They’re not going to reach your neighbor. You are. They’re not going to feed the homeless. You are. I’m not going to point people to Jesus. You are. They’re not going to pray for your family. You are. God’s called you to be the light, being silent as a position, but you know, at the same time standing up and saying things that are difficult isn’t easy. How are you going to do that? You know what’s interesting when you say the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he was a pastor in the 1940s in Nazi Germany.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer stood up. I mean he made these kinds of statements in the midst of an evil regime and in fact he regularly declared the truth of who God is and the love that God had for people and the reason we needed to stand for life and especially in his world. He, he stood for that so much so that in April of 1945 just 23 days before Germany surrendered, his life was taken in a concentration camp. He was hanged. When you studied Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s life, you asked the question, how did a man stand so strong in place with such opposition? How did he do that? How was he a light? How? How did his life matter? How? How did he shine so brightly that now so many years later, we’re still sending in talking about him today and he’s still an inspiration to the life of Christmas around him. How was he like that? You want you to find me a study? District Bonhoeffer.

He was a man that emphasized prayer. In fact, regularly he, he wrote to quit Christians. Do not start your day without meeting your God on your knees. In fact, from prison, not not too long after he loses his life, this is what he wrote. Oh God. Early in the morning I cried to you. Help me to pray and to concentrate my thoughts on you. I cannot do this alone in me. There is not. There is darkness, but with you there is light. I am lonely, but you do not leave me. I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help. I am restless, but with you there is peace in me. There is bitterness, but with you there is patience. I do not understand your always, but you know the way for me restore me and enable me to live. Now that I, my answer before you and before me, Lord, whatever this day may bring your name, he praised.

I think when we take serious the calling God’s place live our lives, the position we’ve been granted, the powerful tool that prayer is, well, not in the Glock pen. I think when our hearts set in the reality of the desperation, where are we are as human beings? That what we need in this world and the grace and the truth and the love that’s found in Christ when we aren’t callous to that, but we live open to that. We see that the only solution for all of it is to find ourselves in prayer before the Lord crying out to him and need. And with that, the prayer of Jonah isn’t just a one day prayer in the belly of a whale, but it comes. It comes from every day prayer for not only our sake, but for the sake of those around us. What if all you had in this world was what you prayed for? What if God today would answer our prayers? What if we really sought his space for the things that we know, not only we need and also the around us. No, I think that makes us dangerous. People about this change.

From Fish to Faith

In the Right Place