by Jennifer Barber
My introduction to prayer began when I was a toddler. I can remember my dad taking me to Sunday Mass and dealing with my fidgeting by saying, “Kneel down and talk to Jesus.” He would also come sing me to sleep at night with “Jesus Loves Me.”
Growing up in the Catholic Church in the fifties and sixties, I learned to pray, but not necessarily to God. Truthfully I was afraid of Him because I thought He was always angry with me. Still, I felt called to serve Him and study His Word. I entered a convent but soon was so miserable that I would go to the woods on the convent property and pour out my heart to the same God who was so scary to me. It was here that I truly learned to pray.
I left the convent and began a path of seeking God. I left the Catholic Church and found a church where I could learn God’s Word, learn more about prayer, and find opportunities to serve Him by serving others.
Slowly I began to realize that God was calling me to be an encourager and to pray for the needs of others. As that call got stronger in my life, I found myself being placed in situations where all I could do was pray for others. I was shocked when one of the leaders of the church I attended told me that one of my spiritual gifts was the gift of healing. I knew I had never laid hands on anyone and seen them healed, but this lady said that by my prayers I was bringing healing into people’s lives.
In the past year and a half God has taken me still deeper into prayer and intercession. He has taught me to pray in the Spirit when I don’t know how to pray in the natural. Now He is teaching me the link between worship and spiritual warfare and is giving me insight into how to bring His healing and His encouragement into this broken world.
During my time as a Gateway intercessor God has broadened my outlook on praying for the peoples of the nations. He has taught me to pray not only for their apparent needs but also for the underlying spiritual roots of their problems. I am grateful to God for this awesome privilege to which He has called me.