Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly. And he said:
“ I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me."
The Bible is full of stories like the one about Jonah. Jonah, as you remember, was disobedient to God. He refused to preach where God called him to go. As a result, God caused a fish to swallow Jonah. While in the fish, Jonah finally came to his senses and repented. He turned to God, prayed and agreed to do what God had originally called him to do. This story, like so many others, includes an instance of a person praying and receiving an answer from God. Jonah prayed. God forgave him and the fish threw him up.
We can learn a lot from this story. We should pray when we have needs. We should be encouraged by the stories of God's faithfulness to his people. There should be little doubt for us as to the importance and the effectiveness of prayer. In recent years there has been a renaissance of sorts in the church toward prayer. There have been some movements that have arisen designed to emphasize prayer and the Christian's need for it. Each of these is significant in it's scope and impact, and many of them are derived directly from Scripture.
Prayer Marches (March for Jesus). These events are large public gatherings in which Christians join together to march/walk the streets of their community to sing, worship, pray and praise God. These marches are bold proclamations of Jesus' Lordship in a community.
Prayer Walks. Although these are very similar to Prayer Marches, the scope is often much smaller. In fact, individual Christians and small groups walk through their neighborhoods and lift in prayer those who live and work among them.
Concerts of Prayer. This event is a large gathering of many Christians from different churches and denominations. It is much like an evangelistic rally without the preaching. The emphasis is on all the Christians praying together as the body of Christ.
Prayer Rooms. There are churches who are devoting space in their churches for prayer. These rooms are open and accessible to all people all the time. There are no business meetings or classes in these rooms. They are devoted completely to prayer.
24-7 Prayer. A more recent phenomenon is round-the-clock prayer. There are congregations who are participating in prayer and worship all the time. They gather at all hours every day to pray and worship the Lord.
All of these are valuable and inspiring methods for prayer. I encourage you to try some, or all, of these. Try what God has in store for you when you trust him with your prayer life.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I long for your presence in my life, o Lord. I want to know more of you. I want to know more about you. Teach me the many ways that I can get the information that I long for. Help me to find the methods of prayer that fit me best, and are most beneficial for me and your Kingdom. In Jesus' name I make that prayer. Amen