Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Scripture for January 15th: Jonah 2
Sermon Title: Confinement, Communion and Confession
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 for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’” And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Daniel Henderson, a true modern-day prayer warrior who has written many books about prayer, wrote this concerning the goal of prayer:
God’s goal at every stage of creation and salvation is to magnify His glory. You can magnify with a microscope or with a telescope. A microscope magnifies by making tiny things look bigger than they are. A telescope magnifies by making gigantic things (like stars), look tiny, appear more as they really are.God designed the universe to magnify the glory of His grace the way a telescope magnifies the stars. Everything He does in our salvation is designed to magnify the glory of his grace like this.
He further writes:
I wonder if sometimes our worry about our requests and problems is not more like the microscope that takes tiny things and magnifies them out of proportion. We need the telescope to take God’s glory and make it the delight and fabric of our praying and living. We pray, perhaps sincerely, but dramatically out of context; like applying suntan lotion in a snowstorm, wearing a heavy down jacket on a tropical cruise, or singing “The Star Spangled Banner” on a busy street corner in Tehran, Iran. Our prayers often are a misfit in light of the real purpose and context of prayer. We may be genuine but we risk being genuinely misguided.
Misguided when we pray? Jonah certainly wasn't; he prayed with passion and power, and his prayer was answered through God's grace and mercy. What about our prayers - when we pray, do we miss the mark? This coming Sunday we will talk about this subject more as we continue the series of messages entitled, "Returning to God: Lessons from Jonah." Hope to see you then! - Pastor Victor