SBC president exhorts students, faculty to prioritize prayer
President of the Southern Baptist Convention Steve Gaines preached during chapel, Nov. 10, delivering a message from Daniel 9 on the topic of prayer. “You can change the world if you will pray,” Gaines said. “You can shape history if you will pray. You can be a catalyst for spiritual awakening and revival if you’ll pray.”
Gaines explained that Daniel was a man of prayer who was committed to praying in a pagan culture during a time in which it would have been illegal to do so. “Because Daniel prayed,” Gaines said, “God did things in his life that He didn’t do in other people’s lives.”
Gaines shared that his hope for the Southern Baptist Convention is that its people become “a praying people and that we would have the sense to talk to God.” He then reminded Southwestern students and faculty that it is imperative for them to pray and to do so often.
Again referencing the story of Daniel, Gaines continued, “Daniel was a man whom God gave information nobody else received because he prayed. When nobody else was praying, he prayed, and God used him.”
Gaines highlighted three things that occur when one prays. First, “prayer moves the hand of God.”
“The Spirit of God does not come on prayerless people,” Gaines said. “The Spirit of God does not come on prayerless [families, churches, seminaries or denominations]. The Spirit of God and prayer are connected. You have to spend time with God.”
Christians must pray, he continued, even when they do not know how to pray or even fully comprehend prayer. “Sometimes I don’t know how to pray as I should, so I do my best, and the Holy Spirit takes over and takes it to the next level.”
Next, Gaines explained that prayer matters because it reveals the will of God. “If you spend your time and will humble yourself and open His word,” Gaines said, “He will say things to you through this work you never would have gotten any other way.”
Finally, Gaines shared that Daniel 9 shows that “prayer blesses the heart of God.” Referencing verse 23, Gaines said, “Daniel was very precious to God.”
“The reason God viewed Daniel that way is because Daniel was committed to prayer,” he said. “He lived for an audience of one, and that was the Lord.”
To conclude, Gaines challenged the assembled Southwesterners to make prayer a priority. “You want to change the world? Get on your knees and pray. You want to change your church? Pray. Wherever prayer focuses, God’s power falls.
“A day without prayer is a wasted day. The most important thing you can do today is get before God and cry out to Him.”