IN FOCUS: 'Why do we pray?' - Word&Way

IN FOCUS: ‘Why do we pray?’

How many times have you been asked this question? How have you responded? If God already knows what we are going to ask, then why ask?

The first component of Texas Hope 2010 is prayer. We have suggested two excellent prayer guides on how to pray: Seek God for the City and Thirty Days of Prayer. Now we are offering a series that deals with why we pray.

Jim Denison, our BGCT theologian-in-residence, is introducing a new prayer resource titled “The Fifth Great Awakening: Experience Pentecost Today.” An excellent tool for Bible study classes or evening worship services, this seven-week series helps answer questions about prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Churches around the world are celebrating Holy Week—Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Resurrection Sunday; worship services, dramatic presentations, choral festivals and solemn occasions to remind us of the significance of that week. We employ our most valiant efforts to capture Christ’s love that compelled him to the cross.

John R.W. Stott reminds us in The Cross of Christ: “The cross enforces three truths—about ourselves, about God and about Jesus Christ. First, our sin must be extremely horrible. Secondly, God’s love must be wonderful beyond comprehension. Thirdly, Christ’s salvation must be a free gift.”

Yet too often, churches experience a letdown after Easter. After the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus, where do we go from there? The Hebrews had seven weeks of waiting between Passover and the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost). How can we use the seven weeks between Resurrection Sunday and Pentecost? The early church waited in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. What is the relationship between this historical event and the work of the Holy Spirit in the church today?

Denison’s series on why we should pray is ideal to use between Easter and Pentecost. This series has been designed to assist pastors and Bible study teachers by providing a weekly lesson plan accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation. Topics:

• April 19 “What is the Holy Spirit doing in the world today?”

• April 26 “What is Pentecost? Why does it matter today?”

• May 3 “Why pray to an all-knowing God?”

• May 10 “Why pray to an all-loving God?”

• May 17 “Why pray to an all-powerful God?”

• May 24 “How to experience the power of the Spirit in your life.”

• May 31 “How to experience the power of the Spirit in your church and city.”

The goal of Texas Hope 2010 is to share the hope of Christ with every person in Texas within their own language and context. This transformational work will not take place just because Texas Baptists make a valiant effort to share the good news. It obviously will require the Holy Spirit working in the lives of the unbelievers and through the lives of his church.

As part of the Texas Hope 2010 initiative, the BGCT and the Center for Informed Faith are making these lessons available to you to download at

 Randel Everett is the executive director for the Baptist General Convention of Texas