Pray Earnestly

James 5:17-20 

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.


            Parents: Are you aware, if you ever showed special favor to one of your children?

Children: Have your parents favored your siblings? Did your parents favor you?

Biblically, some parents favored one child over the others. Isaac had twins – Esau and Jacob. Isaac favored Esau; his wife Rebekah favored Jacob. Jacob favored Joseph among all his 13 children. Did Jacob learn favoritism from Isaac? How about Isaac? Did Isaac learn favoritism from his father Abraham? Did Abraham practice favoritism?

Trivia:  How many children Abraham had? The first son of Abraham with his servant Hagar was Ishmael. Isaac was Abraham’s second son with his legal wife Sarah. After Sarah died, Isaac married Rebekah; then, Abraham got married again. It stated in Genesis 25:1-2,5-6: 1Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah…  Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.

Abraham may have supplied the need of his other children, but everything he owned was inherited by Isaac. Isaac was favorably treated more than his other siblings.

Is it proper for us to favor those we wish to favor? Did God favor someone else?

Reflect on this: All human beings are invited to be adopted children of God. By faith in Christ, we are given the right to become adopted children of God.

Do you believe that you’re God’s child? Are you sure without any hint of doubt? If someone asked about your personal relationship with God, what will you say? Anyone may claim to be child of God, but make sure that you did not deceive yourself!

Absolutely, God loved us; we are his children. But what personal experience can you testify that you practically sensed the fatherly love of God for you particularly? Do you personally sense that God has favored you as his child? When you prayed, did God grant your prayer favorably? What kind of prayer does God grant as expected?

We can learn from Elijah; he prayed earnestly and it resulted to his expectation.

1.  Result

17Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Elijah earnestly prayed; he prayed fervently. He seriously and sincerely asked God to grant his request. And as a result, God favorably granted his prayer as he expected.

But why was Elijah introduced as human being as we are? How did it affect his prayer?

When it introduced Elijah as human being as we are, it teaches that Elijah has the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings just like anyone of us. Yet, his prayer was favorably granted because he prayed earnestly, and not because he was a prophet of God.  Praying earnestly, fervently, sincerely, seriously and honestly was the major factor that Elijah’s prayer resulted to answers he expected to happen.

So, when we pray earnestly, fervently, sincerely and seriously, will God favorably grant our prayer as we expect? How should we earnestly pray like Elijah? What practical activities, movements, actions or situations can help us pray earnestly like Elijah?


During 2022 VBS, we teach the “Shema.” Have you heard of the Hebrew term “Shema?” “Shema” is properly translated as “listen.” So, listen carefully. Jewish people recite the “Shema” as reminder of their faith in God. It is written in Deuteronomy 6:4-5:  4Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 

The secret of earnest prayer that God would favorably grant is actually included, embedded, added, embodied, and integrated in our undivided love of the Lord. To love the Lord with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength helps us focus very sincerely all our attention to him. We make sure that we are at the center of God’s will; our Desires, Decisions and Deeds (3Ds), everything in us, all aspects of our life must be focused, dedicated, consecrated, set apart and holy to the Lord.

How can we do that? How can godly righteousness possibly be realized in our life?

It happens if Christ prevails and performs his Lordship in every aspect of our life.

Actually, the added instructions to the “Shema” help us practice righteousness that may delight the Lord. It says in Deuteronomy 6:6-9, 6These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

Can you accept that God is delighted when we obey his instruction? Sure, he is!

Observe these: Impress, talk, tie and write are action words that imply teaching and learning or student and teacher relationship. How do we impress the commands of God on our children? We personally practice it; children imitate and follow our example. And we talk about it whenever we have a chance at home or anywhere. Tie on forehead and write on doorframes are physical reminders for the Israelites.

Should we imitate that, you may ask. What alternative can we do as reminder?

Well, you may use bracelet, necklace, headbands or wristbands; you may hang picture frames on the wall as practical substitute to remind you of the words of God. Certainly, the Lord knows if we are honest, earnest and sincere when we pray.

Parents can impress to their children how they sincerely love the Lord. Unmarried individuals teach and train potential disciples. When we teach, when we disciple others, we are actually helping ourselves to grow spiritually mature also. Teaching or discipling potential believers practically exhibits earnestness and sincerity of loving God.

So, pray earnestly that the Lord may situate you to meet potential believers that you may teach and disciple – maybe one from your family circle or even acquaintances. How about those who attended the church before but for whatever reason stopped or may have wandered somewhere else, should we regard them as potential disciples?

2.  Regard

19My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 

When former church attendees wandered somewhere else or explored another direction, it implies that they certainly need help to be discipled; if not, they should have continued in the faith, right? We pray for opportunity to disciple them and bring them back to faith in the Lord, that is, if we regard them as potential disciples.

Now, if the Lord reminds you of someone you know who wandered somewhere else, consider it, pray for that person and regard it as your opportunity to disciple.

Interestingly, right after it teaches earnest prayer, it encourages us to help return to the Lord anyone we regard as brother or sister in Christ. Certainly, the Lord will favor prayers for believers who were confused to follow different path. He wants them back.

Remember when Elijah prayed that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years; and he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops, he exemplified praying earnestly that the Lord answered him favorably.

Elijah prayed not for personal consumption nor for personal need, yet he prayed earnestly. His prayer for no rain was a crisis that should have caused the Israelites to return to the Lord. His prayer for rainfall was God’s grace to remind Israelites that God cared for them. The Israelites may choose to respond positively or negatively, it was not huge factor. God answered his prayer favorably when Elijah prayed earnestly, fervently.

Shall we pray for God to shower with his grace so that misled believer might see the goodness of God practically? Shall we pray for crisis for them to return to the Lord?

Earthquake 2022

Few days ago, a strong earthquake rattled many people in Northern Philippines. Whenever disastrous earthquake happens, many victims may ask why God allows disastrous calamity. When people are grieving for the loss of loved ones or properties, is it easy for them to personally accept peace and comfort available in God?

If you’re grieving for the loss of your loved ones, will you appreciate any advice?

On July 16, 1990, a disastrous earthquake rattled Baguio City and surrounding provinces. That unforgettable terrible experience helped me sensed the peace of God in my innermost being. It was impressed in my heart that, the Lord was still in control.

Why does God allow disastrous calamities, difficult problems and undesirable struggles in life? Victims may ask similar question to find answers. But, will they listen? Who will trust that God has great purposes for his glory that we don’t understand? Can human pressure God to reveal his mysteries? It says in Deuteronomy 29:29, 29The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.

Again, only by faith we believe what’s written in the Holy Scripture, not by logic. Anything that God reveals is helpful for believers to trust him more seriously. Mysterious things that God reserved secretly, he may reveal them in his perfect time, maybe in eternity when we reach heaven. And, to trust that God designed every situation and event according to his great purposes, that exhibits faith.

Reflect: Do you believe confidently what it declares in 1 Corinthians 10:13? 13No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

The term “temptation” is properly interpreted as trial, affliction or calamity. Does it include natural disasters? Yes! It also includes difficulties, struggles or problems that may test our faith. And praise God, he knows if we can persevere. And if it is very hard for us to endure, he had already prepared solutions for us to get through it.

What calamity, disaster, problem are you struggling with difficulty at this very moment? What is it that you feel like it is too difficult for you handle? What can you do?

The Lord has perfectly designed series of events to shape you into a person he wanted you to be. Pray that the Holy Spirit may empower you to trust him, and when you sense the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, you will testify of his transformational work in your life before others or before potential believers. Remember that and this:

3.  Remember

20Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Many believers may have been very comfortable of their spiritual life, but we are reminded of our mandate to help others return to the Lord. If we’ve personally sensed the love of God, we cannot be indignant and uncaring of others. It would be very wise to check our status before God, and not just deceive ourselves into believing that we are saved forever. We need to be sure that the Holy Spirit of Christ is really living in our life.

The Lord Jesus said in John 14:15-17, 15If you love me, keep my commands. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Prelude to his promise, right before Christ promised to ask his Father to give us the Spirit of truth, he challenges if we love him –  we keep his commands not just obeying one single command. Love for Christ is practically exhibited in obedience to his commands. His last command is our commission, our mandate: to witness and make disciples. And this is very similar to last challenge in the Book of James: to help those who wandered from the truth and to turn sinners from their error ways.

The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit of Christ the Truth is also our guarantee that we have received his promise of eternal life. And what concrete, tangible proofs can we claim that we are eternally saved?

Love for Christ and obedience to his many commands.

Do you personally love Christ? Yes? Do you personally obey his many commands? How can we be active in help wanderers and sinners return to the truth?

Take this time to reflect on your spiritual status. Are you active spiritually?

Earthquake, war, economic recessions, pandemic should be enough reminder for us that the Lord Jesus is coming sooner than expected. Make sure that you spend very wisely the remaining years of your stay on earth. Make sure that you have earned for yourselves enough treasures eternally. Be filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Earn eternal treasures while making disciples. The Lord had already prepared the potential disciple for each of us.  Amen?

Then, pray earnestly, fervently for opportunity to witness and make disciples.

Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus Christ!

><((‘> .. ><((‘> … ><(((“> tmec\2022 <“)))>< … <‘))>< .. <‘))><



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