by George Whitten, Editor of Worthy Devotions
Jonah 1:6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, "What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish."
At this point the captain (who probably worshiped Baal and Yamm, god of the sea) has more faith than Jonah.
Frantic in the midst of impending catastrophe, he jolts Jonah back to life and intercession. They say there are no "foxhole atheists"; when great danger comes God somehow bursts into existence. But these sailors were polytheists, and desperation led them to implore the local god of every man in the boat for mercy and salvation. Even these idol worshipers knew that prayer is the only recourse in the hour of desperation.
It's something to remember and apply in our day to day encounters with people. So many these days are dealing with serious and even desperate situations, while they're waiting there at the checkout counter...and while they don't much care to hear a sermon, they might really appreciate our prayers.
We've been in situations, with hardly a clue whom we were speaking with, and simply said, "Do you mind if I pray for you?" Suddenly eyes light up, "Yes, please do!" Prayer brings people back into direct relationship with God and reminds them of their dependance on Him, and whether we're on a ship in a storm, or facing some other potential catastrophe, we all desperately need His grace and favor. And connecting with people this way is actually easier than you might think.
The times are coming, and are already here, when more and more people facing desperation may turn and cry to us, "Call on Your God to save us!" They may even wake us up from our spiritual slumber to do it. Rather than rubbing our eyes and groaning, "Duh, what?" we ought to be already awake, looking for them now.