CHATTANOOGA — “A day without prayer is a wasted day,” says Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, and incoming vice president/president-elect of the Tennessee Baptist Pastors Conference.
Gaines led a breakout session entitled “Pray Like It Matters” during the annual meeting of the Tennessee Baptist Convention held Nov. 12-13 at the Chattanooga Convention Center.
Gaines, who has authored a book with the same title as the conference, stressed that “prayer is the most important activity in your life.”
Yet, he noted many people are inconsistent in their prayer life.
“The reason we don’t pray is not that we don’t believe in it. It’s because we don’t know how,” he contended.
“When you don’t know how to pray, just thank God for what He has done for you in the last 24 or 48 hours,” he suggested.
Jesus is the model for prayer, Gaines said, noting that He is the authority on prayer. According to the gospels, prayer is the only thing that the disciples specifically asked Jesus to teach them to do, he observed.
In his book (which he gave to everyone attending the breakout session), Gaines devoted two chapters on “The Lord’s Prayer.”
“Jesus didn’t want this prayer to be memorized and prayed by rote. Instead, He intended for it to be a model prayer for us to use as one of the greatest patterns for prayer in all of Scripture,” he wrote.
Gaines said the best definition of prayer is simply: “Let your requests be made known unto God.”
God doesn’t give you everything you ask for, he noted. Instead, what “He gives you is better than what you ask for.”
Gaines observed that “the more we talk to God, the more He talks to us.” He cautioned, however, that “If you don’t pray in faith, you might as well not pray.”
So, does prayer really matter?
“I believe it does,” Gaines said. “Prayer matters to God, to the circumstances and people around us, and to each of us as well,” he stressed.
He is convinced that things “turn out differently” when people pray. “God will do some things whether we pray or not,” he observed.
“But there are some things God will do only if we pray,” Gaines continued.
He challenged breakout participants to pray.
“Time alone with God is never wasted time.” — To purchase individual copies of Gaines’ book (Kindle version or paperback), visit: www.amazon.com and enter “Pray Like It Matters.” For bulk copies for Sunday School/Bible studies, visit www.AuxanoPress.com.