Read Jonah 2:7-10. Let’s not lose sight of what is going on here. Jonah at the beginning of this book, ‘couldn’t give a damn’ for Nineveh! It was too inconvenient, too hard, too costly, and too inconvenient for him to take responsibility for Nineveh’s fate. He didn’t feel what God felt, and he wouldn’t say what God wanted said. Not a million miles from us then! He was utterly devoid of compassion.

Without love, none of us can do or achieve anything. We’re on a road to nowhere. But look at every revival in history. They all began with an awakening of compassion for the unsaved, combined with faith and eagerness to turn their deadly predicament around. Think of David Brainerd kneeling in the snowy woods of New Hampshire, praying so fervently he melts the snow for a circle of 3 feet around him! The same fervour was in Whitefield, Wesley, Spurgeon, and moderns like Billy Graham and Reinhard Bonnke.

So, this is all about putting callous ‘swinging-brick-for-a-heart’ Jonah to death, then resurrecting new feelings in him other than hatred. God did this by dangling Jonah over hell for a while. No wonder he gives voice in prayer to what he calls ‘my distress’, being ‘banished from your sight’, and cries ‘my life was ebbing away’! Some unbelievers are given a taste of heaven before they to go to hell. But some believers are given a taste of hell before they go to heaven. They see Nineveh’s fate vividly. They’ll need this, if they are ever going to take other people to heaven. None of us have to go to heaven alone. Then why do we always appear like ‘God’s Frozen Chosen’ in the eye of our critics?

And so at last, Jonah finally prayed. If we will not pray before a great trial, we may have to learn to pray in it, and after it. God sometimes arranges a special kind of vacation, a ‘special retreat’ reserved for his choicest children. It’s called ‘The Fish Hotel’, and you may have a reservation just waiting for you! As Hebrews puts it, ‘Whom the Lord loves, he beats the hell out of!’ Trials are like that. They are not packages we willingly sign-up for, or the most conducive places to pray in, yet we may never pray more really than when we are there. Jonah’s de-commissioning had an end in sight. Prayer was the beginning of that end, the start of a new beginning.

Why not ask God for a brand new beginning in your life? He wants it.