Why Jonah Prayed After Disappointing God?

The prophet Jonah immediately understood that a calamitous situation was developing. A sailor had roughly wakened him up in the middle of a storm. He was dead-tired and in the middle of a deep slumber when frantic hands were laid on him. A cacophony of shrill and strident voices urging him to wake up soon followed. Something must be up, he thought. He had not realized that running away from God could be so tiring. Constantly looking over his shoulder, he had been so fearful of God’s wrath. Only when he was safely ensconced below the deck of the ship bound for Tarshish had he found sanctuary. Could God have found him? Surely not. He was an irrelevant speck among the earth’s teeming multitude.

The consultation with the ship’s crew was quick and ominous. The ship was bobbing like a cork in a heaving ocean. The sky was dark and sullen and lit up time and again by arcs of lightning. He had been left with no choice but to confess his transgression. The sailors bodily lifted him and consigned him to the monstrous waves. Darkness was claiming him when a giant fish broke over the waves and sucked him inside its belly. Wet and shivering, he realized that God had saved him. He cried and began to pray:

The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountain, I sank down; the earth barred me in forever. But you, my Lord, 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. – Jonah 2:5-7

How big a disappointment he must have been to God. Yet, he can still reach out to Him by calling out and imploring His mercy. He prayed for three days and three nights.

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