Solo Prayers of Jesus, Jonah, and Yourself
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish. Jonah 2:1, ESV
Ever prayed right before you had to take a test? Or needed to be hired for a job? Approved for a loan? Or maybe in the midst of a crisis? Nearly all of us who pray at one point or another have prayed like our life depended on it. Prayer is the most common faith practice in the world, from every continent and country, tribe, tongue, and nation, people pray!
In fact, according to research, 79% of Americans are reported to have prayed in the last three months. They pray like Jonah prayed in his time of trouble.
Like Jonah, most Americans pray when they feel alone in a crisis. Some 82% of all those that say they pray are praying solo! No one is around. They are not praying with other friends, family, or members at a church; they are simply all alone.
Jonah was all alone. He was in the belly of a whale for 3 days! He’s praying – No one is there but himself, God, and that fish! It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to be confined there. Inside the great fish, intense heat, that awful smell of rotten fish causing nausea, and the burning sensation on his skin from stomach acids – it must have been horrific.
Many times as Christians, we feel alone, but we must remember we are not. God is with us. We can connect through prayer. Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane felt all alone. His friends abandoned him, another betrayed him, and he was left alone in his greatest hour of need. We find him praying a solo prayer; he’s under intense anguish and anxiety, knowing that he was about to be delivered over to be falsely accused, beaten, and crucified. What does he do? He prays. He prays to his heavenly Father for help (Matthew 26:36-56).
QUARANTINE AND PRAYER
While in quarantine due to the corona crisis, many believers around the world prayed. I am sure many felt like Jonah. Isolated and alone. Fearful and frustrated. Trapped and at times terrified. Yet they were praying. God calls the Christian to arise for prayer. Prayer not only helps us spiritually, but it helps us physically as well.
HEALTH BENEFITS TO PRAYER
According to one study that was posted in a recent article from Christianity Today, 1,134 physicians participated in a study regarding prayer and medicine. The report showed that 70 percent of the doctors believed miracles are possible today and agreed that it helps the patient to pray. Prayer has been reported to help prevent memory loss, increase mental health, reduce dementia and Alzheimer’s, relieve pain, lessen anxiety, and improve the immune system.
PRAY FOR ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING
God loves you and wants you to share with him what’s on your heart and mind. You can come to him anytime. You can ask him for things, as a child asks from a father. He loves his kids and wants to give them good gifts. As we consider, prayer and its benefits, it’s no wonder God’s word calls us to pray without ceasing, to pray at all times, (Ephesians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:17), and to pray for all kinds of people and places (1 Timothy 2:1-7). So what are you waiting for?
Take a minute to pray just you and God. It’s a conversation you are having. You can take a minute to give thanks for the blessings you have in your life, or ask for God’s help for a friend or need in the community, or for his help in the midst of a crisis you are facing. God is near and wants to help you.