Intercession, by Beth Guckenberger

This week I have been reminded of the power of prayer… something that I can overlook as I am busy “making things happen”.

There is a guest here from North Cincinnati Community Church, whose mother, Barbara Shaw passed away this last year. In the final few years of her life, she had a painting hanging in her home of two girls from Mexico. It was purchased at a Back2Back banquet, from a young artist who painted it from a photograph. Barbara didn’t know these girls, had never traveled to Mexico, but saw a role she might play in intercession for them.

The painting was acquired three years ago. Within six months of her intercession, these two girls’ lives drastically changed.

Todd and I have known them our entire stint here in Mexico. When I first met Lupita, she was not even walking. Carolina was a spitfire toddler that caught my attention and heart right away. That was in 1997. Ten years later, in 2007, the girls were in a difficult position (due to the behavior of the oldest) and needed to leave the children’s home. They were without any other family or resources, so Todd and I took them in. They began to live for the first time in a family.

These last couple of years, as they have become our foster daughters, we have all grown in our understanding of family. There have been steps forward of growth and grace, and steps backwards. I am trying to understand what ‘shelter’ really means – God’s shelter over our family, our extension of that shelter over the girls, the rest He promises for us there.

This week, Mark, Barbara’s son, showed me a picture of his mom, opening up the painting for Christmas. I couldn’t stop the tears. Carolina and Lupita love Jesus. They love our family. They love each other. They love the community here. Their lives today are radically different than the day she opened up that painting.

What role do I think her prayers played in that? I honestly don’t know exactly, but the evidence stares me in the face every night across the dinner table.
I displayed the picture Mark gave me on our fridge and last night I told the girls this story. Carolina immediately had tears in her eyes, still stunned by a God who has left the 99 to go after her in such a relentless way. Lupita’s eyes got really big, and she spoke first, “God has always loved us, hasn’t he? Even before we loved Him back.”

Barbara with the Painting of Carolina & Lupita

Barbara with the Painting of Carolina & Lupita

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6 Responses to “Intercession, by Beth Guckenberger”

  1. Jim Says:

    I was talking to Carolina the other day and she told me that before she came to live with the Guckenbergers, she didn’t know what it was like to “live in a family”. Today, her sister Lupita and her do. Great testimony of the faithfulness of God and His relentless pursuit to rescue the orphan child!

  2. Mark Shaw Says:


    Thank you for sharing this with us. I shared this with a firend last night. She is one of the many women my mom was mentoring. Jokingly she said “I’m still mad at her for leaving when I had things for her to pray about. When Barbara Shaw prayed, things happened!” Then she said, I guess I need to start praying for them myself…

    Isn’t that right for all of us? We have the same access to the same God she had. I believe the reason people wanted my mom to pray for them was quite simply that if she said she would, you could be sure she would follow through. That’s it…but what is always so amazing is to see how God brought all these events, the painting, the auction, Christmas 2006, another year and a half of living in this world… perfectly synchronized with two young lives in Mexico.

    Thanks again Beth… I cried too 🙂

  3. Karen Kilgore Says:

    This lady Barbara Shaw was such a prayer warrior and she was one of my dearest friends. When ever life was hard and un certian, I could also go to Barb and she would pray with me. This was no ordinary lady, she was one of God’s instrutments to women everywhere. I was able to spend quite a bit of time with Barb in her last days as she was battling cancer, and the one thing I can say is she never complained and was always thanking God for all he had done for her and others. Barb even in her last days on this earth was busy preparing me to let go of her and stay strong in God. When ever I have a hard day, I just think of Barb and a smile does come across my face. Earth lost an angel, with her passing, but heaven gained one. I still miss Barb and will always have her imprint on my heart and I know she is still busy in heaven praying for us all.

  4. Curtis Cecil Says:

    Beth… A True call to the power of Intercession.
    You know That is what I was thinking after hearing this story from you and hearing Greg speak that Sunday on the Faith Chapter… How many of the people in the Faith chapter didn’t see the outcome of their faith? Abraham never knew of his millions of decendants…
    Why is it we are so prone to a FICKLE Americana way of praying and demanding instant gratification from God?
    We all need to practice the faith of Barbara Shaw who prayed CONTINUALLY even without knowing the outcome of her prayers!

  5. Rob Sackett Says:

    What a wonderful story of God’s love and how he involves us in his will through prayer. I am reminded of Philippians 2:1-2, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” I was certainly encouraged as I read this story and was reminded of our union with Christ!

  6. Chris Toler Says:

    Hey Todd and Beth,

    Was reading through the latest issue of B2B Ministries which led me to this page which led me to this article which got me to remembering the trips to Monterrey many years ago. Those were (and are) very rich memories and experiences for me of God moving in my life in a time where I really needed Him. Glad to hear how He continues to move in your lives and in the lives of the people you touch. I will remember you all in my prayers.

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