Jonah 2018 | DAY XXVI


Jonah has confessed his rebellion against God to the sailors, was thrown overboard, and was swallowed by a great fish God prepared for him. When we meet him at the introduction of chapter two, he is in the belly of this great fish, in the dark and totally alone.

What does Jonah finally do in verse 1 of chapter two?


Look back over chapter one. Has Jonah prayed to God at any point in the narrative so far?


Jonah thought he was going to die. He thought the sailors would throw him overboard to his death. But God’s plans were bigger than Jonah could ever have imagined – quite literally! A great fish swallowed him whole, and in the stomach of that great fish he finally, finally prays.

Though it may not seem like it, Jonah is the first one to “pray” to God in this narrative. Throughout the Text, others do call on the name of the Lord, and the Hebrew word for this is: קָרָא (or, qara). But Jonah prays, which comes from the Hebrew word: פָּלַל (palal).

Look at the following references where the Hebrew word קָרָא, or “call” is used:

Genesis 39:15

Judges 9:7

Isaiah 6:4

Isaiah 59:4

Jonah 1:6


After reading these verses, what does the word קָרָא seem to mean in this context?


Now, look at the following references where the Hebrew word פָּלַל is used:

Genesis 20:7

1 Samuel 12:23

Psalm 32:6

Jonah 2:1

Jonah 2:2


After reading these verses, what does the word פָּלַל seem to mean in this context?

Though the sailors called out to an unknown God to save them from the storm, Jonah, from the belly of the fish, prays to the God he knows. Jonah’s long history of walking with God is not forgotten, and in the very use of the verb פָּלַל the author reminds us that Jonah knows Yahweh. He is intimately familiar with God, and even though he likely feels farther from God than ever before, he is just one prayer-breath away from being brought back into fellowship with God.

Reflect on your own prayer life. Do you tend to call to God to help you in times of need?  Or, do you pray to Him  – talking to the God you know and trusting His character?


Spend some time asking God to build your prayer life. Ask Him to deepen your relationship with Him, and to bring you to a place where you speak with Him out of the intimacy you have with Him through Christ.

Author: amygannett

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  • I loved looking at the different words and their context. This really puts into perspective for me the difference between calling out and praying. So good!

    • Awesome! Yes, the different between the two Hebrew words was new to me, too. And convicting! I think I often cry out to God for help, but spend little time in prayer like Jonah did – recounting God’s character. I want to work on this!