Prayer is one of the most important parts of the Christian life, Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, said in chapel Oct. 14.
Gaines spoke in chapel Wednesday in the first of three “Faith in Practice” services continuing on until Friday.
Despite prayer’s importance, we don’t pray with the intensity or frequency that we should, Gaines said. Prayer is a mystery, and it is difficult.
The disciples didn’t ask Christ how to serve, denominate or disciple. Despite the importance of these things, the disciples asked Christ to teach them how to pray, said Gaines.
Jesus set us a model for prayer, he said. He would go into the lonely wilderness and pray all night. He prayed on the cross. His prayers were so intense his sweat fell as blood.
“When’s the last time you prayed like that?” Gaines said.
Scripture tells us Christ prays in intercession for us to the father. Christ’s life, said Gaines, is marked with a great deal of prayer.
“If Jesus needed to pray, do you think that you and I need to pray?” he said.
Prayer is not just for us to change, Gaines said.
“I believe with all my heart that there are some things God is only going to do if we pray.”
Gaines then presented six reasons for prayer, all based on Psalm 116.
The first reason he gave was that our sovereign God is listening. When Psalm 116 says that God inclines his ear to those who pray,
“He leans in to pay attention.” Gaines said.
God’s willingness to listen to us should give us reason enough to pray, Gaines said.
Secondly, we live in a dangerous world.
“The church is not a cruise ship—it’s a battleship” he said.
It is becoming more and more strange for a Christian to live in the world that we do, he said, and we are in a war. Our prayers will affect angelic aid.
We also should pray because God has supplied our every need, Gaines said. God has provided us with the means for life, and we should be grateful.
“When is the last time you really thanked God for providing for your needs?” Gaines said.
Prayer also should be spurred because God will take us home at death. Gaines told the story of when he was speaking to a dying congregant who was afraid to face death.
He was reminded of his father, who would enter into his dark room and flip the light switch on to show that it was safe to enter. According to Gaines, Christ, like Gaines’s father, entered into death to prepare it for us.
“He paved the way,” Gaines said.
We also pray, Gaines said, because God has set us free from sin. Our freedom from sin should be enough to prompt gratitude through prayer to God.
Finally, we pray because God has united us with his family. The church should pray together.
“Two are better than one,” Gaines said. “Because when you fall, you have someone to pick you back up.”
Faith in Practice continues throughout the week with 10 a.m. chapel services.