Category Archives: Interviews

Interview with Stacey Thacker, Author of Threadbare Prayer

Life sometimes brings difficult situations or circumstances that can leave us feeling run-down, drained, worn-out, and threadbare. Illness, the death of a family member, the loss of a job, natural disasters, a pandemic. The events of this year have left us struggling in ways we cannot articulate. These are the times we most desperately need prayer, but they can also be the times we simply don’t have the words to form a prayer. How do you pray when you can’t find the words?

In Threadbare Prayer: Prayers for Hearts that Feel Hidden, Hurt, or Hopeless (Abingdon Press), Stacey Thacker presents 100 simple yet heartfelt devotions to guide readers on the days they don’t know what to pray. Each entry in this attractive, gift-worthy devotional contains a Bible verse, a brief thought, and a simple, concise prayer to encourage the reader’s heart.

Interview with Stacey

Q: What is a threadbare prayer?

A threadbare prayer is a simple prayer based on Scripture that is easy to remember. Sometimes we go through seasons when we are feeling hidden, hurt, or hopeless and want to pray, but we just don’t have the words. I’ve gone through those times and found focusing on one simple prayer at a time was the key to holding on to Jesus.

A threadbare prayer can also be something we whisper in our hearts because we don’t have the strength to voice them aloud for others to hear. In those quiet moments, we can be sure that Jesus isn’t threadbare at all, and He will hear us and hold us together.

Q: Tell us a little bit about your new book, Threadbare Prayer. Who did you write it for and how is it intended to be read?

Let’s begin with who I thought about when I was writing this book. I thought about my friends, women I know from college and bump into at church or online who are feeling discouraged, overwhelmed, desperate and broken. Right now, I think that describes a lot of women—they feel worn and like they are hanging by a thread.

At the core of her heart, I think a threadbare woman is determined not to put distance between herself and God—but to draw near, press in, and cling to the hem of his robe. She shouts her ache to Jesus who she knows is holding her heart.

This book is a way to do just that. I wrote it so we could all focus on the Word, honestly pour out our threadbare hearts, and hold on to Jesus. He does beautiful work in our broken places if we let Him.

Q: How did the idea for the book come about?

I started writing Threadbare Prayer in my journal, during my Bible study. They were, from the beginning, very personal. I shared a couple on my blog and social media, and my friends and readers all said, “This is your next book!” I was actually surprised, but I’ve learned to listen to my followers throughout the years! So, I started to be a little more intentional about writing and sharing them and began to think about what a book about threadbare prayer could be.

I knew each prayer would have a verse, a short devotional, and the threadbare prayer. I also knew that a threadbare woman doesn’t have a lot of time or capacity for a deep dive into prayer. It needed to be meaningful and rich but simple. In the end, the idea for it to be a gift style book of 100 prayers emerged and I couldn’t be happier! It is the perfect book to leave on your coffee table or desk at work and give to a friend. I’m so happy with how it has turned out.

Q: In the book, you share stories of some of your own threadbare moments. Can you share some of the times when you have found yourself grasping for words to pray?

Throughout the book, there are glimpses of some of my most threadbare moments. They include a period of three years where my dad passed away, my almost 9-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a severe and relentless chronic illness, and my husband suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. I found myself alone, fearful, weeping, and wondering what God was doing.

During each of these times, I would describe my prayers as desperate and simple. I didn’t have fine or fancy words. I couldn’t remember long passages of Scripture. I just had small breath prayers that I repeated over and over. “Lord, you are my shepherd, and I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1) was one that I prayed when Mike was in ICU and later in rehab. I knew, Jesus was enough. He wasn’t threadbare, He was holding on to me.

Q: Is it always a major life event or stressor that causes threadbare periods or can these times also come from busyness and general weariness?

I think right now we are seeing that being threadbare can actually be a lot of little things that we are faced with in everyday life. Pandemic? Suddenly being HOME for 6 months, virtual learning, having to figure out how to see our parents who live in another state during quarantine?

I actually found the word “threadbare” in a book I was reading. As I read it, the word “stuck” in my heart, and I looked down and noticed my jeans had become threadbare and worn at the knee. Little by little with daily wear and tear, the hole got bigger. Isn’t that a picture of how little things can wear on us and we find ourselves hanging by a thread just trying to get the laundry finished or the groceries put away?

Q: What would you say to someone who is in the middle of a desert right now who can’t seem to see the better days ahead?

I would say that Jesus is powerfully drawn to your threadbare heart. His invitation in Matthew 11:28 is to “come to him and he will give you rest.” He is a comforter. He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24). He is not far off. When you are hanging on by a thread, pray. Be honest. Pour out your heart. Take one Scripture and tell your heart the truth about who He is. Praise him. And let him do a beautiful thing in that broken place.

He will. I’ve seen him do that in my own life

Threadbare Prayer: Prayers for Hearts that Feel Hidden, Hurt, or HopelessBy Stacey Thacker

Available October 6, 2020 from Abingdon Press
Hardback ISBN: 9781791008017 / $19.99
eBook ISBN: 9781791008024 / $19.99

About the author


https://facebook.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=312d9c42859d078a024ef39aa&id=f62ad86fac&e=7e3523fd46

Stacey Thacker is an author, blogger, speaker, and believer who loves God’s Word and connecting with women. Her passion is to encourage women in their walks with God and equip them to study the Bible. She created the blog community Mothers of Daughters and now blogs on her site, StaceyThacker.com.

Thacker is the author of seven books including Hope for the Weary Mom: Let God Meet You in the Mess and has written a series of Bible studies, The Girlfriends’ Guide to the Bible. Her latest book is Threadbare Prayer: Prayers for Hearts that Feel Hidden, Hurt, or Hopeless.

She worked with Campus Crusade for Christ for five years before becoming a full-time mom to four daughters. Her family lives on the Orlando, FL area.

Visit Stacey Thacker online at staceythacker.com (https://facebook.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=312d9c42859d078a024ef39aa&id=46ec430a65&e=7e3523fd46) . She can also be found on Facebook (@OfficialStaceyThacker) (https://facebook.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=312d9c42859d078a024ef39aa&id=743422281a&e=7e3523fd46) , Twitter (@staceythacker) (https://facebook.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=312d9c42859d078a024ef39aa&id=2d0b56848d&e=7e3523fd46) , and Instagram (@staceythacker) (https://facebook.us18.list-manage.com/track/click?u=312d9c42859d078a024ef39aa&id=c12b045cdc&e=7e3523fd46

Part 1 of an Interview with Heather M. Dixon, Author of Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story

Part 1 of an Interview

Heather M. Dixon 

There are few things that can make us feel as helpless as living with a story we don’t like. Life is rarely fair, and things happen beyond our control that impacts our lives in negative ways. Maybe our story involves the loss of a loved one, an unwanted transition, a difficult diagnosis, or a dream that fell through. At one time or another, we all deal with disappointments and feel that we are being punished. For women searching for a glimmer of hope, Heather M. Dixon has written Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story (Abingdon Press), a four-week study diving into the life of Naomi from the Book of Ruth.

Dixon wrote Renewed for any woman that is carrying a difficult and life-altering story they did not choose and cannot change. She also wrote it for the woman who yearns to trust God’s sovereignty and His plan for her life even as she grieves and is angered by her circumstances. She believes that trusting God and grieving your story are not mutually exclusive. Dixon herself lives with an incurable and terminal genetic disorder, so understands what it means to live a story that is not easy. With insight from her own journey, she teaches women to flourish even as they live hard stories through a willingness to trust that God can transform them and trade their heartache for hope. They will learn to rely on God’s movement in the details of their story, even when it can’t be seen, gain confidence to act in the part of their stories that they can change, and watch expectantly for God to redeem the parts they can’t.

Q: Most studies on the book or Ruth focus on Ruth and Boaz but Renewed looks at Naomi’s story. Why do you think Naomi’s story is such an important part of the book?

I’ve always read and taught Ruth from Naomi’s perspective because ultimately, I think it’s her story. However, there are three main reasons why hers should be explored:

One, for all believers, a transformed heart is one of the key identifiers of life with Christ and as readers, we get to experience that journey with Naomi—from bitterness to renewed joy. Ruth and Boaz are beautiful characters, but they are rather stagnant. It’s Naomi that changes, and her transformation echoes that of anyone who has struggled with a hard story and found Jesus to be faithful along the way.

Two, from a literary perspective, there are a number of devices the author uses to indicate that Naomi’s story is the important one.

And three, it’s my personal belief that Naomi’s response to grief has often been judged too harshly. I wanted to give my readers a safe place to explore feelings of bitterness as they learned to look for God’s movement in their own story.

Q: Can you share more about your own story, specifically the part of your story you don’t like?

There are several pieces of my story that I could share with you that I don’t like, but the milestones would be when I lost my mother at the age of eleven, when my father died twenty years later, and when I was diagnosed with an incurable, connective tissue disorder that I inherited from my mother. We know now that this disorder is what took her life at thirty-seven. Doctors have told me that my own life expectancy is forty-eight.

I understand grief, loss, and life changes where you just have to close the door, determine not to look back, pick your head up, and keep going. But I also know the sweet and life-giving love of a Heavenly Father who fills our story with comfort, hope, and purpose, even when we feel that all is lost. God breathes renewed life into our weary souls, and that truth keeps me putting two feet on the floor in the morning, even when I still don’t like my story.

Q: How did your diagnosis change how you look at life? What does “living your life well” look like to you?

The answer is always evolving. At its core, it looks like waking up and knowing the next twenty-four hours might be my last. So, living my life well means pursuing ways that I can honor God, love my family, and serve my community until I lay my head to rest for the night. I fail at this every day! But it gives me a sense of focus that I didn’t have before.

My diagnosis also changed my perspective on hardship. Anyone who has walked through any measure of suffering can quickly tell you what matters and what doesn’t. Things that might have seemed like a major problem before are now minor inconveniences that I know will pass. That’s a blessing.

Finally, my diagnosis has taught me to pursue bucket-list living. I’m much more spontaneous and carefree than I used to be, and I seek activities that will make lasting memories, big and small. A scoop of mint chocolate chip from the local ice cream shop is just as precious as a spur of the moment family vacation. I am thankful for each moment I have, which is something most people search for their entire lives.

Q: You write, “God doesn’t call plays out of a playbook from the clouds in the sky. He wants to walk with us along every step of our story, holding our hand when we are unsure of the plan.” What are some things we need to remember about God’s sovereignty when it comes to our story?

This is one of the deepest blessings I have discovered walking through my hard story. God is a relational God—He seeks to walk every step with us. And we can trust Him with that path because in His sovereignty, He is also compassionate, merciful, and loving. We aren’t puppets in His playroom; we are His beloved daughters, whom He values and cherishes. Walking in intimacy with Him blesses us with peace, comfort, and joy. Another important truth about God’s sovereignty is that He has a master plan—for us and for His creation. We are a part of that plan, treasured pieces in a divine puzzle that will be complete when all things are renewed. He won’t let us stray off course, nor will He leave our lives to chance. Every moment matters to Him and He has a plan to renew every piece of our hard story.

Q: Have you always seen God working in the details of your story? Should we be looking for how God is moving or simply trust that he is?

No, yes, and yes. I wish I could tell you that I have always been aware of God moving in my story. There were seasons in my life, particularly the season after my father died, that I could not sense His presence. Was He moving in the details of my story then? Absolutely. My regret is that I allowed my earthly then vision to cloud my heavenly perspective. Which is why I am always in favor of looking for how God is moving.

I am emotional and fickle—prone to wander if I don’t see results. God knows this about me. It’s always in my best interest to keep my eyes open for God’s fingerprint. But the moments that I can’t see it are faith-builders; those are equally as valuable and help to build our trust in Him. So, yes we should always be looking for God’s movement and yes, we should always simply trust that He is.

Q: You share a suggestion for overcoming stress and anxiety that readers might not expect. What has helped you that you encourage others to try?

On nights when I am particularly anxious and have trouble going to sleep, a prayer that utilizes God’s gift of imagination often helps to settle my thoughts. I close my eyes and imagine a large field in front of me. Standing in the field are all the things bringing me anxiety, like current stressors in my life, confrontational moments, tensions with loved ones, worry about the unknown ahead, or health concerns. Whatever is renting negative space in my head at the moment, I imagine those things standing in my field.

Then, I imagine a giant hand and forearm lowering down to the field from the sky. Slowly, but steadily, the forearm wipes all my worries on the field away. The field empties and the hand gently opens, revealing soft and gentle wings. I climb into them, curling up to rest in their protection as they fold over me. In my imagination, the forearm, hand, and wings belong to God. I take several deep breaths and begin to meditate on verses about God’s kindness and refuge. This simple prayer exercise helps me to remember that God’s refuge and kindness are more powerful than my anxiety.

Q: What are some creative ways the study can be done in groups since we’re still supposed to be social distancing? Can a participant get just as much out of the study if doing it alone?

There are a handful of technological helps that will assist in group study during social distancing requirements. A few suggestions are:

* Meet with your group virtually via Zoom, Facebook meeting rooms, or Google Meets.

* Stay connected with each other, sharing prayer requests and thoughts throughout the week via a private Facebook group or text/email thread.

* Take advantage of the resources available from Amplify Media, where you can access Renewed teaching videos, Abingdon Women and other Bible study video sessions, inspirational short videos, and children’s content available anywhere from any device. Amplify Media is a streaming service allowing churches large and small unlimited video access in order to discover, customize, and share diverse resources that encourage deeper discipleship and equip churches to pursue their mission with greater impact.

* If you are fortunate enough to live in an area with pleasant weather, meet outside!

And yes, absolutely, a participant can get just as much out of the study doing it alone. The most efficient way to hear the voice of God is to immerse yourself in His Word. There is no substitute for this. I’ve had some of my most profound Bible study experiences sitting alone on my back porch, diligently walking through a study on my own. The group components for Renewed are there to enhance your study, but are certainly not a requirement.

Heather M. Dixon is an author, speaker, and Bible teacher who understands living with a story that is not easy. Diagnosed with an incurable and terminal genetic disorder that she inherited from her mother, she is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to trust in God, face their greatest fears, and live with hope, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances.

When she is not blogging at The Rescued Letters or speaking at women’s conferences and events, Dixon loves to make the most of everyday moments such as cooking for her husband and son, brainstorming all the possible ways to organize Legos and superheroes, checking out way too many library books, or unashamedly indulging in her love for all things Disney.

Dixon is a regular contributor to Journey magazine and the author of women’s Bible studies, Determined: Living Like Jesus in Every Moment and Renewed: Finding Hope When You Don’t Like Your Story.

Visit Heather M. Dixon online:  attherescuedletters.com, 

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/rescuedletters/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rescuedletters/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/rescuedletters

********Look for Interview Part 2–Coming Soon********