I Am Jonah

Ages ago I took a course from Ray Lubeck where I got to study the book of Jonah in depth as I learned how to read the Bible well. A few years after that I had the opportunity to develop his university level curriculum for use at the high school where I was teaching. I ran a test version of it with a senior as an independent study before implementing it in my classroom. Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a seminar by Brad Carr who spoke on the majesty of God for several hours. It was great. He also happened to be selling copies of his new book I Am Jonah which I bought a copy of for obvious reasons.

At one point in the seminar, I was reflecting on how many of my former students are in their Jonah phase. Don’t worry, I also know I’m in a Jonah phase. We all are. Brad set up the title of his book explaining how the book of Jonah is read during Yom Kippur celebrations and often at the end, the congregation will say together, “We are Jonah,” as a communal acknowledgement of their sins and how they’ve avoided being obedient to God in the past year. There’s such power and relief in that confession of our disobedience that allows us a chance to unencumbered by guilt embark on fresh obedience today. I’m so grateful for the hope provided by confession and repentance that’s available to me and any of the former or current youth in my life.

A few weeks ago, I read two different books on prayer that referenced the famous prayer list of D. L. Moody which inspired me to write my own list including some of those Jonahs in my life. Moody was known as a great man of faith, and early in his ministry he wrote a list of 100 names of people who he wanted to come to know Jesus and prayed for daily. By the time he died, 96 had come to faith, and at his funeral the final four surrendered their lives to Jesus. Since I’m not at the level of D. L. Moody, I recently wrote a list of ten names I’m praying for daily. Five of them came from Christian homes and have a Jonah story of turning away from that; five of them were raised in non-Christian homes but have had some encounter with faith that they are figuring out.

I would really love to see these ten people give their lives to Jesus before my funeral happens, but my moment of faithfulness for now is in praying for them daily and loving them where they’re at.

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  1. ray


  2. Chuck Felton

    May those ten for whom you are praying give their lives to Jesus long before your funeral.