Jonah was greatly displeased
and became angry that God did not carry out the evil
he threatened against Nineveh.
He prayed, “I beseech you, LORD,
is not this what I said while I was still in my own country?
“Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”
He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your Kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test.”
It is not difficult to see the similarities between todays chapter of Jonah and the New Testament. It is about prayer: how and how not to pray. Jonah is upset that God did not do what he wished and in his conversation with God he makes his displeasure quite clear. He is upset that God spared his enemies the Ninevehites. In his conversation he justifies his disobedience to God, because he knew God would not carry out his wishes. In Jonah’s mind his prayer is Oh God do this or Oh God give me this, or Oh God don’t do that. I want this, I want that, or I don’t want that. Oh God do what I want. What a contrast that is to “Father, hallowed be thy name.”
In Jonah’s second conversation; God first provides a gourd to shelter Jonah from the heat, and then takes that plant away. From Jonah there is no thanksgiving for that plant, only anger at Gods destruction of it. Even when God uses that plant as a type of parable to teach Jonah, Jonah has no interest in learning the ways of God. He shows no remorse, and asks for no forgiveness. To Jonah, God is to do the will of Jonah. Jonah puts no effort into discerning the will of God. Though Jonah boasts of his God he acts as though God is his servant. That relationship is echoed in his conversations. It is echoed in his prayers. Learning how to pray is important. Jonah gets it all wrong. In Jesus prayer he blesses God and acknowledges Gods rule. He teaches us to ask for spiritual food and forgiveness. He reminds us to forgive others as God forgives us. Learning how to pray is important.