In the midst of the strange and awful circumstances in which he found himself, Jonah poured out his soul in anguish to Jehovah. The prayer as chronicled for us consists of quotations from the Book of Psalms. It is exactly the kind of cry which a man familiar with the sacred penitential writings of his people would utter in such circumstances.
Perhaps the most remarkable note about the prayer is its note of triumph. While it is distinctly asserted that he prayed out of the fish's belly, and while all his quotations indicate the darkness and horror into which he had come, taken as a whole it is an expression of absolute confidence in God and in His deliverance.
The probability is that the prayer as recorded expressed the final stage of Jonah's spiritual experience in the realm of darkness. "When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came in unto Thee, into Thine holy temple," is a quotation aptly indicating the period at which it was uttered. In view of the use made by Christ of this experience of Jonah, the prayer becomes all the more interesting, especially in its allusions to what were undoubtedly Messianic psalms.