I was scrolling through Instagram one day when I spotted a friend’s post about a devotional called Threadbare Prayer. The verse quoted was an obscure one, Hosea 2:15: “And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.” Before this, I had barely even read the book of Hosea, much less found nuggets of transformational truth in it.
But Stacey Thacker’s short takeaways spoke to me powerfully. Her two-sentence meditation was followed by a statement of her (and likely her reader’s) mindset followed by God’s truth:
“Take me to the wilderness
“Speak to my heart
“Show me the door of hope.”
The final “threadbare prayer” sums up the takeaway: “Lord, you turn my troubles into a doorway of hope.” I clung to the idea of a “doorway of hope.”
I need that devotional, I thought, and within seconds I had ordered it.
Threadbare Prayer reminds me of the hugely bestselling Jesus Calling, not in format, but in its succinct daily readings offering potent life applications.
The idea behind the book is that we can sometimes have no words to express what we are feeling or going through. Thacker, who has been through some deep personal crises, including her husband nearly dying, where the only prayer she could utter was “help,” guides the reader into putting their groanings into words. Even though the subtitle: Prayers for Hearts that Feel Hidden, Hurt or Hopeless, suggests the reader is in the middle of a crisis, I found the devotions incredibly relevant and timely for “everyday” bouts of anxiety, fear, or frustration that is endemic to life in a fallen world. We all feel “threadbare” all too often.
Here are 100 simple yet wholehearted devotions to guide readers when they feel worn out, burned out, worried or in need of encouragement. I especially loved Thacker’s use of less-known verses from Nahum, Nehemiah, Job, and Hosea, sprinkled in with much-quoted verses such as 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control.”
After three months of dwelling in this bolstering book, I was sad to turn the pages to the last devotional. But when I accidentally left it out on the patio that night, and it got soaked in a flash storm, I smiled. The book, already underlined and highlighted, with stars and notes in the margins, was now warped and falling apart. Time to get a new copy and start all over again. (Abingdon)