MEMPHIS (BP) – Members of one of the most well-known Southern Baptist churches are focusing their prayer efforts on their pastor this Sunday (Dec. 3). Bellevue Baptist will be lifting up Steve Gaines as he battles kidney cancer.
Gaines made the church aware of his health need on Nov. 19.
He told his church family he has “a great team of doctors in Memphis who are treating me.” He said he also plans consult with physicians at M.D. Anderson in Houston.
Gaines, a former SBC president, has served as pastor of the Memphis-area church since 2005.
The church issued a special prayer guide for the day on their website. It features 11 Scripture passages they are encouraging members to use as they pray for Gaines and his family.
Gaines’ wife Donna is a member of the Cooperation Group appointed by SBC President Bart Barber to help Southern Baptists gain a better understanding of what it means to be in friendly cooperation.
Group chairman Jared Wellman posted the prayer guide to the group’s website and called on Southern Baptists to join Bellevue in praying for Gaines and his family.
“As the Cooperation Group nears the end of our Research Phase, we recognize that no research is necessary to understand the value the Southern Baptist Convention brings in connecting churches across our nation, offering us the chance to “weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15),” Wellman said.
He said the group “invites all Southern Baptists to join us as we join Bellevue Baptist on Sunday, December 3 to pray and commit to fast from one meal or for the entire day” to cover the Gaines family in prayer as they face their recent medical diagnosis.”
Kie Bowman, SBC national director of prayer, says he and Gaines have been friends for 40 years, dating back to their days studying in seminary.
“Steve and Donna Gaines are both profoundly committed to Christ and the power of prayer. Their prayer lives and leadership are known throughout our convention,” Bowman told Baptist Press.
He turns to the hope found in Scripture when he prays for his longtime friend.
“We are instructed in Scripture to ‘pray for one another,’ and if the Holy Spirit inspired that instruction, and we know He did, then we can believe the rest of that verse – that ‘the effective, fervent prayer of righteous people accomplishes much’ (James 5:16),” Bowman said.
Bowman said he was affected deeply by the news of Gaines’ cancer, and he knows many other Southern Baptists were as well.
The prayer leader is encouraged to know that so many fellow believers will be lifting up the Gaines family during their time of need.
“I’m grateful to be a part of a family of churches who know how to pray and it’s a privilege to join with so many others as we pray for Dr. Steve and Donna Gaines and their family,” he said.
View a video message from the Gaineses here.