When my soul fainted within me, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
// Jonah 2:7
Anything that causes us to pray is a blessing. Life may seem like a weight too hard to carry, but if we wake up to the reality that we were not called to carry this heavy burden on our own, then we may be the most blessed person on the planet. How so? Jesus is everything we need and more, but because of our self reliance, it sometimes takes a while to grasp that the ultimate prize of life is not success, fame, power, wealth, or anything else this world can offer, but rather God Himself. A.W. Tozer puts it this way, "God wants to be loved for Himself, but that is only one part. He also wants us to know that when we have Him, we have everything.”
Jonah in this verse repeats something he felt earlier, but the first time it happened to him, it wasn’t heavy enough upon his soul to experience the favor of God to cause him to pray. This time around when his soul faints, he knows that he can’t stand on his own. Jonah remembers the Lord. Powerful statement. What we remember in our time of need will be what we run to. Jonah confesses his inability to handle the pressure. He is honest with his anxiety, that he has no way of handling this on his own.
The word ‘faint’ in the original hebrew means to ‘hide’. It can be read as, “My soul hid within myself”. Here, we can all relate to Jonah’s situation as a very difficult place to be. When this happens in our lives, what literally goes on inside of us is that all of our thoughts become about ourselves. All we remember is ourselves, and we multiply the pressure that we experience, because our ‘self’ has no power to deal with this. So when Jonah says, “I remembered you...” that moment is the beginning and end of his freedom, and his purpose in life. He remembered the Lord instead of himself.
I realize that I am praying to something, whether it’s God or not. When I just remember myself, I am praying to the self rather than Jesus our Lord. In my time of need, I run to all sorts of things. And what I run to, is where my prayer lands. Prayer is a statement of trust – trusting that person or thing to deliver us from what we are facing or experiencing.
Prayer is more than talking to God. It is this, but also much more. It’s remembering Him, leaning into Him, listening to Him, relying on Him, valuing Him, resting in Him, crying out to Him, praising Him, walking with Him and so much more. It’s the deepest of relationships. It is a quest of discovering He is everything our souls long for. And in this discovery, we realize the purpose of life. May our prayers rise to God and to Himalone.
Will you remember Him today?
// Josh Kelsey