I promised yesterday to tell you how I became involved in the intensive intercession ministry that I now have. Today I will begin to do that.
Prayer has always been a part of my life. Like most people in my generation, my first memories of prayer are being taught to kneel by my bed as a little child and repeat a rote prayer. “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.” This was followed by requests for God to bless all my family and friends. Early on, I began to name them off. I guess that I wanted to be sure the Lord knew the exact people I was asking Him to look after. It was also useful to me to help me remember family members who lived far away and who were not part of my daily life.
Later on, the family would all gather at the dinner table and after the meal, we would each take a turn and pray, my brothers and I taking our turns. We went through a rotation, beginning with my father and finishing with my younger brother. There I learned from the example of my parents to not only think about asking God for the things I wanted, but to have an awareness and concern for the needs of others.
I think that I must have been in my late teens or early twenties, when I decided to keep track of my prayers. I read somewhere that this was helpful, because you could then note when these prayers were answered. So, I started my lists. Usually I just entered the date and made a list of people that I was praying for. At times, I would also add specific requests for them beside their names in a word or two. These I kept in tiny spiral notepads.
As a young mother at home with my children, I remember always trying to take time for prayer in the morning, before I got into the activities of the day. As the children grew, it became more difficult to keep the discipline, but I usually managed to find some time in my day to spend in prayer. Having a list was helpful, as it gave me something tangible to go back to. I never devoted a great deal of time to prayer. In those years, it really was often prayer on the run. There were quiet times for prayer that I could somehow fit into my day, like when I was driving my children somewhere or waiting for appointments of various kinds.
It was really when I was in my early forties that I sensed the call to intercession. I will tell you more about that tomorrow.