By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Prayer needs to be the priority of every Christian’s life, affirmed Tennessee Baptist Steve Gaines of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova.
In the final message of the afternoon session of the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference June 15, Gaines observed, “a day without prayer is a wasted day.”
Using Mark 11:22-26 as his text, Gaines noted that prayer can still move mountains but it takes more than a “bless me, business as usual” type of prayer. Three things must take place for mountain-moving prayer, he stressed.
“Mountains are moved when God’s people pray with fervency,” Gaines said.
Fervent prayer means prayers that involve risk. Gaines noted that John Knox, a Scottish clergyman and leader of the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s, prayed, “Give me Scotland or I die.” That was a fervent prayer, Gaines observed.
That kind of prayer is needed today, he continued. “Who is crying out, ‘God, give me Columbus, Ohio, … or Memphis, Tenn., or I die?”
Gaines noted that Jesus’ disciples did not ask Him to teach them how to win souls or disciple people. “They asked him to teach them to pray,” Gaines said, referencing Luke 11:1. “The disciples saw Jesus focus on prayer in His own life,” he added.
The Bellevue pastor also observed that if mountains are going to be moved by God, Christians “must pray in faith.”
“Faith is God’s guarantee that when you ask in faith, He is going to answer,” Gaines said, adding that He will always give you what you ask for or He will give you something better. “And He defines what is better,” Gaines reminded conference attendees.
He noted, “faith is putting our trust and dependency in God and His promises. Our job is to ask. His job is to answer.”
Finally, Gaines said that if mountains are to be moved, Christians “must pray with forgiveness.”
Jesus said God will not forgive those who do not forgive others, Gaines observed. “Your prayers are not going to be effective for mountain moving until you forgive.”
Gaines exhorted those attending the Pastors Conference to truly learn how to pray.
“May God make us praying pastors,” he implored. “May God make our homes houses of prayer. May God make our churches houses of prayer. May God make Southern Baptists the most praying denomination in the world.”