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Author Janet Thompson on Pleading with God

by Jocelyn on February 20, 2012

Have you ever found yourself pleading with God? Most of us would probably answer yes to that question, which is why I’m so glad my friend Janet Thompson’s new release is on this very subject. Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah: Pleading with God is the latest in her series of  books designed for women to study together in mentor-mentee relationships (she calls them M&Ms). The book is also great for small group study, or for individual use. You can find out more about the book here.

Now let’s talk to Janet more about pleading with God.

What’s the difference between asking God for something, and pleading with Him?

Janet: Prayers can metamorphosis into begging God to perform in a way we think is best. Even a woman of strong faith can experience a crisis of faith when life doesn’t turn out as she expects and she knows God could intervene on her behalf. When we plead, we’re usually desperately invested in the outcome.

Is it wrong to plead with God?

God definitely wants us to pray with sincerity and passion. Many life issues, especially crises, naturally lead to pleading with God. How we react when He doesn’t immediately respond, or we don’t like His answer can lead to bargaining and negotiating with Him, or like Sarah and Rachel in the Bible, taking matters into our own hands. Learning to rest in God’s sovereignty and wait on His timing—as Hannah did—is our goal.

What is the best way to cope when God’s answer is “wait” or “no”?

Knowing God and believing that He is good and gracious and wants the best for us is the key to patient perseverance. He’s waiting to reap the maximum harvest from our situation: maybe it’s to show His glory in a miracle or discount Satan. Perhaps someone will accept Christ through the outcome, what a blessing. Or maybe He’s working on our character and spiritual maturity or growing the faith of people viewing our circumstances.

If we feel He’s gone silent, we could be expecting Him to respond in a particular or familiar way. He is talking—we just need to listen and remember that His perfect timing might not be our preferred timing. During times of pleading, experience peace with God by discovering a purpose in your pain.

Can you share with us a personal story about when you pleaded with God for something? What happened?

Praying God’s Word back to Him and personalizing Scriptures helps in hearing God because He speaks to us through His Word and it also helps focus on God’s will and not our own will. In another of my books, Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter, I share the story of praying God’s Word back to Him for my prodigal daughter, Kim, every day.

After three years, it seemed like God wasn’t listening. He had gone silent. Then one day I heard from Him, I want her back more than you do. That was all I needed to continue earnestly and persistently praying for her even though I didn’t see any changes. I knew God was working behind the scenes and He was expecting me to keep praying because I trusted Him, not because I saw or heard Him.

It took almost three more years before she made the turn back to God and to me and today she’s a godly woman, wife, and mother. I’m so glad I didn’t give up on God or Kim.

What did you learn while preparing this Bible study that surprised you?

Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah, each pleaded with God for a baby, but I wanted to include other life circumstances where women might plead with God, so I sent out a request for stories. I was amazed at the response and the variety of stories I received. Women were graciously willing to share their vulnerable experiences to let other women know they were not alone. That’s the heart of mentoring: sharing those been-there-done-that experiences and with God’s help I made it through and you will too.

Could military wives benefit from doing this study with a mentor/mentee or a group of friends long-distance? Do you have any tips for making the online study successful?

Definitely! The Face-to-Face Bible study series has M&M questions for two women to do together and there’s also a leader’s guide in the back of each book for studying as a group.

To study online, I would suggest each woman have a copy of the book and agree how much of the study they want to cover when they virtually meet. There are 5 sessions and each session consists of 5 days.

They would each do the study on their own and then arrange a time to either chat online via email, yahoo chat, Facebook message, Skype, conference phone—whatever means they all have to communicate back and forth. They can discuss their answers to the questions or utilize the Leader’s Guide for areas of focus.

My daughter-in-law is a military wife, and I have seen how valuable it is for her to spiritually mentor other military wives, and also be mentored by wives who have been in the military longer than her. Sometimes it’s awkward to know where to start and doing a Bible study together provides that needed conversation opener.

 

About Janet:
Janet Thompson is a speaker and author of two new releases: Face-to-Face with Sarah, Rachel, and Hannah: Pleading with God and Face-to-Face with Lois and Eunice: Nurturing Faith in Your Family. There are 5 additional Face-to-Face Bible studies in the series.

Other books by Janet: Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter: Hope, Help & Encouragement for Hurting Parents; The Team That Jesus Built: How To Develop, Equip, and Commission a Women’s Ministry Team and Woman to Woman Mentoring Resources.

Janet is also soliciting stories for her March 2013 book Dear God, He’s Home! A Woman’s Guide to Her Stay-At-Home Man. To contribute a story, email ahw@sbcglobal.net. She is especially interested in stories from military wives of reintegration. Visit Janet at www.womantowomanmentoring.com

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Patti Wilson February 20, 2012 at 1:51 pm

“M&Ms,” what a cool way to describe that relationship. I always look at books with small group or that relationship in mind. What better book to use than one written for that purpose!

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Barbara Greer February 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

I would love to get a copy as I have been going thru some relationship issues that I feel like I have been pleading with God about. I have financial issues that I sometimes plead with Him about also. I would love to be able to be involved in more Book Studies.

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Kristina @ A Home Made by Kiki February 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I have recently began to re-evaluate my prayer life the last few months. I would LOVE to win this book…and would love to suggest it for a couple of women’s Bible studies that I am involved in. Thanks for the giveaway!

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JG February 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Honestly, I’d love a copy because I’m asking God for the same thing the Sarah, Rachel and Hannah did. I’d also love to have a new book to recommend to my ladies’ study group

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Jocelyn Green February 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Hi JG,
If you happen to be asking for a baby, Janet’s other book, Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? is another great one. Blessings as you plead with God!

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Janet Thompson February 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Hi JG,
I read your comment here and I thought you might also find helpful my book Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby? A Companion Guide for Couples on the Infertility Journey http://www.amazon.com/Dear-God-Cant-Have-Baby/dp/0891122745/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329852816&sr.
My daughter Kim (the prodigal I mentioned in the interview above) along with my step-daughter Shannon, share their infertility journeys and trusting and waiting on God. 45 other couples also share their stories to offer encouragement and hope and there’s a place for you to journal your own journey and a Sanity Tools section in the back. I know it’s hard, but keep trusting God for His plan to unfold. Blessings, Janet Thompson

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Sonja Mannarino February 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I would love this book could help my womens group study we are trying to think of what to do and read.We need Women of God that will conquer our lives to live right and to help others with spiritual questions.And this would help us in many ways.

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Jocelyn Green February 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm

This would be a great study for your group, Sonja! If you don’t win it, you could also check out the other Bible studies Janet has written in this series, here: http://amzn.to/zlYFHf

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Amber Weaver February 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm

This sounds like an amazing book. How many times have i pleaded with God!?! I like how she mentions it could benefit military wives as well, online or in a small group… I’ve been praying something would come my way yet I’m too chicken to lead it myself!

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Ashley February 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I am pleading with God everyday. I’d love this book to see how the Bible days line up with Todays. To see the issues the women deal with back then that we still deal with.

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Janet Thompson February 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Ashley, You caught the heart of the Face-to-Face Bible study series. That’s exactly what they’re about. Looking at mentoring and women’s relationships in the Bible and what we can learn to apply today! Blessings, Janet

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kellie February 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Oh if only I could share why I need, not want, to read this book! I’m pleading with God even as we speak!! He keeps telling me to wait on Him and waiting is just so painful right now!

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Karen Grear March 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I would love to get a copy! I think I may be too late…I just found this post, but I was SO excited! Our church just started a mentoring program, & we are always looking for Scripturally sound resources for our M&Ms to do together! We also have a new military spouse ministry, and this’ll be a good resource to have for that too! Thanks for reviewing this book!

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