JONAH RAN FROM GOD when he was asked to issue a call to repentance on God's behalf. He wound up swallowed by a great fish where he prayed this prayer. The images are profound - full of sorrow and grief and then shifting to joy and gratitude. Sound familiar?
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 round 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.
Jonah 2: 1-10