We asked our community “Why did you join online Bible study?’ This is the HEART of who we are as we study, connect, and grow together. We’ve celebrated births and Heaven bound lives. We’ve cried over hardships and rejoiced over blessings. We are the Bible Cafe™ come grab a seat and join us for online virtual Bible study groups.
Here are the reasons why women joined online studies at the Womens Bible Cafe™ and what keeps them coming back for each new study. We’ve been leading online studies for more than 10 years and completed at least 100 online Bible studies together.
“Time commitment works with my crazy work schedule. Good fellowship and encouragement.”
“I joined because I wanted more ways to study the Bible apart from just Sunday mornings. I stayed because of the interaction and friendships with other ladies.”
“Encouragement and a flexible study schedule.”
“To be in community with other believers. To learn about the Bible and strengthen my relationship with Jesus.”
“It’s like another family all over the world . Teaching you and encouraging you. Bible study becomes more then the study.”
“Interaction with like-minded believers and to grow in my relationship with my savior.”
“The truth! Whatever your reasonings are…tell them. Never know, it may encourage your friend to join one.”
“To learn about the Bible and grow and strengthen my relationship with Jesus. To be in community with other believers.”
“Because my church doesn’t have one.”
“To deepen my faith in my Lord. To fellowship with other believers.”
“I joined because the online Bible study fits my schedule and has awesome leaders, fabulous discussions & fantastic new friends. And, it keeps me accountable on a daily study.”
“Because of the time convenience! It works to have several days and times available to meet! Additionally, there is still accountability with women from around the world!”
“Health issues were keeping me at home a lot and I wanted to be involved with a group that really wanted to dig deep into the Bible. This has been an answer to pray and I have meet some really awesome women and leaders.”
“To fellowship with other ladies while I’m unable to get in a crowd because of autoimmune disease. Convenience of going any day of the week, though I did prefer my regular slot.”
“Because at the time I was unable to go to church physically and I was craving Bible Study and fellowship with Godly women.”
“I love digging in the word. I like the schedules and being able to study with other godly women.”
“To study the Bible, make new friends and grow in my relationship with Jesus.”
“Because I travel a lot, because there are so many options and times, because I don’t like leaving the house much for evening meetings because I’m a very early riser, because there seems to be more distribution of who participates, because it’s an hour. With travel most studies for me would be at least 90 min to 2 hours.”
“I wanted to get deeper in the Word. Online Bible studies provide me with focus on topics or specific books of the Bible. I also wanted accountability, which it is giving me. Little did I know that I would also find awesome fellowship.”
“I love the interpretations of scripture by each member of the group. It broadens my understanding of Gods word by sharing our views.”
“I am an introvert.”
“So I could learn more about the Bible with like minded sisters. In the comfort of my home due to being disabled it’s hard to get out of the house to go to any other type of study. And time values at times I can pick the day and time for my studies.”
“I joined to learn more of the Bible, become closer to my Lord and because in my rural community there are only bible studies while I am at work.”
“I’m reading, learning, doing something I really enjoy in the Bible and it gives me a chance to do all that with others seeking the same things.”
“Its a great way of learning from the comfort of home and still have some interaction with others in the group.”
“It is not easy for me to go to a ladies Bible study. I have some health issues. Online Bible studies work for me and my situation. Flexibility is key.”
“I have definitely grown spiritually. I have met some wonderful Christian women. They have become my heart sisters! I thank God for this ministry and online Bible studies!”
“A community to study with, pray with, have community with, and you can do it at your leisure, especially when you’re traveling from home, can’t drive in the dark, health problems, it’s a great place to study with others.”
“Great way to share and pray with others who love Christ. To share learn & reflect in the comfort of my home. It’s a blessing.”
“I want to draw closer to Christ. I want to learn all I can about my Father. The women are not afraid to speak their thoughts because of the distance. Great sisterhood and prayer warriors.”
“To become closer to Christ. And learn to spread the word of His teachings.”
“Because I can go in my pajamas! Seriously, because it meets at convenient times for me, I have grown in the Lord, and meet like minded people who encourage one another.”
“I joined because it was hard to attend to Bible study at church. Working contract jobs with different schedule. Then, often we get off the subject and I forget what was the discussion about and loose focus. I wanted to learn how to talk to God with the good and the bad. Learn how to listen for God’s voice to speak to me. I am here to learn. I have been in church all my life and growing up I missed how to pay attention and staying focused so I can learn in my own timing with the convenience at home. Everyone teaches differently. I had to find how I can understand without using words that I had to lookup in the dictionary because of the pronunciation. I am glad to be a part of this Bible study.”
“Because I was in a rural community and my church did not offer Bible studies. I found the Womens Bible Cafe and have been in continuous bible study for at least 6-7 years.”
“At the time I was very ill with a fibro flare and rarely left the house. I was drawn to a study I could do in my pj’s and stayed for study after study because I found a loving community of women who were committed to learning God’s Word and supporting each other in the journey.”
“I joined to be with a community of women looking and longing to grow with Jesus. I love the accountability and the views from Scripture. To support others in prayer brings joy to my heart. This community is exactly where God wanted me when he wanted me there!”
Being part of an online Bible study has been effective in keeping me in the Word as I make every effort to complete the assignments each week. God has blessed me & taught me on this journey.”
Because there was not one in my church.”
“I need to be in the Word. Also the community of believers is a great support, whether I personally know you or not. Thanks for all you do.”
“For me it was because I didn’t belong to a church at the time but wanted the community and accountability for staying in the Word. I am saddened that so many say their church does not have Bible studies! I wonder if God might want those to step up and be willing to lead one? It takes commitment and time to prepare for each lesson, but it would be worth it I think.”
“Because I love the fellowship and inspiration we get from each other.”
“To grow in faith with other women.”
“It allows me to grow deeper in my faith even though my schedule doesn’t work for an in person bible study.”
“Because of health issues and love to stay in the Word.”
“I needed a group of ladies to engage in the Bible with! I found acceptance and growth in God!!”
Author Dr Saundra Dalton Smith Joins Womens Bible Cafe Online Community
My first Bible study was called “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” by Beth Moore, not exactly the most appealing title! However, it was the only study offered at my church and I wanted to grow in faith, so I enrolled in the study. And then I walked out.
Hesitant and turned off by the title, I arrived on the first day of the study, grabbed my workbook from the stack of books, and then turned around and headed out the door. I was too uncomfortable and felt out of place. Actually, I was insecure about my identity on Christ.
As I was leaving the church, my friend Lisa friend saw me and questioned me. When I told her about my lack of commitment and uncertainty about the book subject, she grabbed both my eyes with hers and gave me “the talk.”
The talk my friend gave me changed my life and placed me directly before God and my Bible. She has no idea…God simply used her through our relationship and the glory goes to Him, not to the friend. She was a distant friend- an acquaintance- which God used in a mighty way!
John C Maxwell once said “You never know when God will use you to be a miracle in someone else’s life.”
As I was pulling away from Bible study and away from God, my friend interrupted my path. She explained to me how Satan, the father of all lies, would do everything in his power to keep me from Bible study. She revealed to me that Satan did not want me to know Scripture, and more importantly, he did not want me to have an intimate relationship with God.
If I listen to the small voice in my head, making so many excuses for not going to the Bible study, then I was following Satan and not God. She encouraged me to listen to my heart.
With my heart I knew I wanted to be closer to God, know more of His word and study the Bible. So I made a U-turn in life, redirected my path, and walked into my first Bible study.
When I arrived to the classroom, a welcome group of women invited me in and started what appeared to be a routine Bible study session. Begin with prayer, open your Bibles… I was in DESPERATE trouble!
I did NOT have a Bible. I was at my first Bible study and did not think to bring a Bible. Actually, I did not own a Bible.
Thank you @biblegateway (again) for the resources.
⬇️⬇️ If you have the time, and your Bible pages are too thin for taking notes, print a copy of Daniel 1. Keep a working copy inside your study book and move it from day to day as you work through. #danielstudypic.twitter.com/PZkLNuOeaA
Lowering my head in shame, a kind woman noticed my discomfort and offered me the standard church Bible from a stack in the back of the room.
The church Bible had such tiny print, in red letters, I could hardly focus my eyes. I felt so lost…yet so loved…all at the same time. At the completion of my “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” by Beth Moore Bible study, I learned two things:
The Bible is not just a book with prayers and commandments to memorize, it’s a LIVING love letter from God.
I could not learn this on my own and needed a Bible teacher- the Holy Spirit- to illuminate the Scriptures
Soon I was participating in more small group studies and found myself exploring workbooks by other authors such as Max Lucado, Jennifer Rothschild, Priscilla Shirer, Anne Graham Lotz, Kay Arthur, Nancy Lee DeMoss, Henry Blackaby and more.
I realize that although I enjoyed Beth Moore studies, I needed to explore other authors as well, or I could easily turn Beth Moore into an idol. Beth didn’t want me to read the Bible to draw closer to Beth; she wanted me to read the Bible for the Lord and to discover God in the pages of Scripture.
So I made a wise decision to balance my study books with various authors and formats. In my personal Bible study plan, I now alternate a short 6-week study with a long 10-week study and I find balance.
Making Your Small Group Work by Henry Cloud, John Townsend and Bill Donahue
After leading more than 100 online Bible study groups, we asked our Bible Cafe™ community to share advice for beginners in Bible study. These women and volunteer Bible study leaders looked back at their own Bible study habits and created a list of their most common mistakes.
We discovered these Bible study mistakes happened in both online groups and local church study groups. When you join an online or virtual Bible study with us, our leaders will help you walk beyond the common mistakes and encourage your spiritual growth.
The 22 Common Mistakes
Quitting Before You Begin and Making Excuses Why You Can’t Start Your Study
Not Having a Scheduled Time For Bible Study and Making This a Last Priority
Feeling Inadequate and Assuming Everyone Else in Your Group Is Smarter
Adopting the Superhero Bible Girl Identity and Tempted By Too Many Choices
Boredom From Reading the Bible Daily
Brain Fog and Difficulty Keeping Focused
Expecting Others to Invest in You And Buy Your Study Books
Showing Off Your Expertise with Unintentional Leadership
Not Inviting the Holy Spirit Into Your Study With Prayer
Being Self Focused Rather Than God-Focused
Spiritual Warfare and CHAOS
Isolating Self From Group Members and Being Disengaged
You were worth the life of Jesus. This is how very valuable you are to Him. Oh, girl, you may not feel that special, but who you are and how you feel are not the same thing. Trust God’s opinion of you. He sees you as incredibly, eternally valuable. pic.twitter.com/SF87EG4rcW
Throughout biblical history we see 40 days of testing, waiting and drawing closer to God. Ash Wednesday and Lent typically mark a spiritual quest for Christians, though it’s often recognized as a Catholic tradition. It’s a time of prayer, service, sacrifice and self-examination. Look beyond the face of religion and into the heart …and see if God is calling you for the next 40 days. Does He want your attention and your heart focused on Him?
Forty-day spiritual journeys are well known in the Bible. In Genesis 7 Noah spent 40 days and nights on a boat while God destroyed everything he had created. In Exodus 34 Moses was on the mountain with God 40 days without eating bread or drinking water, while God wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 16:35 the Israelites ate manna 40 days until they arrived in the promised land. They then suffered 40 years in the wilderness for disobeying God. In Deut 2:7 we’re reminded “The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. ”
Jesus was called by God and immediately a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. Mark 1:11-13 NIV
Below are some ideas about spending 40 days with God. (Disclosure: this site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com)
Fasting 40 Days
Financial Fast- One year my husband and I decided to give up (fast from) all luxury expenses. Since we use budgeting software, we were able to look at 12 months of luxury expenses (pizza, movies, coffee drinks, dining out, etc) and estimate the daily cost. We multiplied the cost by 40 days and then gave up these luxuries with a promise to God to give the money saved to charity. In the final two weeks my husband lost his job and we were tempted to keep the money. By faith, we donated the money and trusted God with our finances. By blessing others we were blessed by God. We learned how to live on less and continued to give up luxuries until he found new employment. It was truly amazing! You can learn more about this in the book “Fasting for Financial Breakthrough” by Liberty University co-founder Elmer Towns.
Food- Another year, we practiced traditional fasting by giving up specific foods or eating at specific times of the day. The concept is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. One word of caution when fasting: watch your blood sugar! I ended up hospitalized after 40 days of liquids until 5pm and light meals in the evening. It turns out I had hypoglycemia and the artificial sweeteners in those high-calorie coffee drinks made me incredibly sick! Know your threshold and guard your health. You can learn more about this in the popular book “Fasting: Opening the Door to a More Deeper, More Intimate, More Powerful relationship with God“ by Jentezen Franklin. Recently I fasted 40 days from coffee (my daily addiction) and grown in wisdom as I pray. It was during a 40-day coffee fast where our NEW membership site was crafted!
Events- My children are making decisions about their own level of participation. They might fast from television, texting, Facebook or specific foods such as sweets, pizza or fast food. I’ve been fasting from technology each week, filling my day with scripture, fellowship and prayer. Unplug from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites… and plug in to Jesus. Finish a Bible study you never completed. Devote some time to Him…and be richly blessed. Elmer Towns explains the different types of Biblical fasts in his book “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough.“
Psalms– Pick up your bible and pray through the Psalms each day or read the book Praying the Psalms by Elmer Towns. As you read the verses, focus your mind on how you can apply the verses to your life today. Select a few favorites and memorize them.
Prayer Walk– Each day when you exercise (or just driving the car to work and carpool) go on a “prayer walk.” Notice your surroundings and pray for those people around you. Pray for your neighbors as you walk past their homes, pray for the person parked at the stoplight beside you, pray for those people in your path. Read the book PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength, and Discipline by Janet Holm McHenry.
Body Prayer– During the next 40 days, pray through your body. Start at your feet and toes and pray something similar to this “Lord, examine my toes and feet. Search for anything that is not pleasing to you, find anything that is toxic and does not honor you. Wash over my feet and toes with the blood of Jesus and allow my feet and toes to honor Him.” Repeat for each body part, from toes to head as you lie in bed and prepare to fall asleep.
Read– Turn off the television and read your Bible or Christian books for 40 days.
Memorize Scripture– Get some index cards and write out scripture verses to memorize. I use a spiral notebook, small enough for my handbag so I can carry it with me. There are also apps for your smartphone or computer which help memorize scripture. Make sure the verse is visible so you can read it often during the week.
Pray For a Child– If you are a parent or grandparent, pray for your children each day for the next 40 days. Pray for your nieces and nephews. If you sponsor a child through Compassion International, Gospel of Asia or World Vision then spend the next 40 days praying for your child. Pray for children who are waiting to be adopted. For the next 40 days, find children you can pray for.
Pray For a Relationship– Pray for your spouse, friend, boyfriend or a relationship. Focus each day on the same person and spend 40 days covering this person with your prayers.
Pray for Your Coworkers– Print a copy of the company directory or write a few names down on paper and pray for these people during the next 40 days. Pray for them to know Jesus, for peace and hope in their lives and for God to reveal Himself to them. Pray with expectation for goodness, peace, joy and hope in their lives.
Pray the Names of God– In the Experiencing God workbook, there is a long list of the names of God in scripture. Print this list and pray daily on His name and character. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Him through His name. You can also find a book on this by Ann Springer called Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide
40 Days of Praise
Worship Music- Change the radio station in your car or on your computer to Christian music and listen exclusively for the next 40 days. Scan YouTube for Christian songs and save your favorites in your profile. Listen to www.KLOVE.com on your computer or in the car. When I’m carpooling my kids will say “Just to warn you, my Mom likes to listen to this stuff!” Often their friends reply “Don’t worry, my Mom does it too!” We also play Christian music on our television when we’re at home… you can find it on satellite or cable if you search around the channels. If you like alternative and rock, listen to www.AIR1.com
Journal– Get a fresh notebook and journal your gratitude to God. Read the popular book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and make a decision to start noticing the gifts God has bestowed upon you. This is especially wise if you are under a cloud of unemployment, financial worries, health problems or relationship troubles. Count your blessings for the next 40 days. Create a Spiritual Journal by listing prayer requests and Bible study notes during the next 40 days.
Beauty Treatments– When is the last time you used your body as praise to God? Created in His image…when you look in the mirror do you see the child He loves or something less beautiful in your own eyes? Explore opportunities to honor your body and treat yourself as a son or daughter of the King. What would you eat as His child? How would you dress? What would you do to maintain the body He created for you? Put this thought into your heart, pray over it and see if you need “40 days of beauty treatments” in the name of the Lord. Start praying on Psalm 139 each day and make a commitment to be fearfully and wonderfully made. Exercise, eat right and take care of the body God designed for you. Read the book Fit For Your Assignment by Reina Olmeda and implement some changes in your life.
40 Days of Giving
Giving Letters– In our modern day it’s rare to receive a letter or even a Christmas letter. Most people use the speed of text messages, email and Facebook posts. Why not break tradition and mail a handwritten letter, once a day, for 40 days. Mail to a prison ministry, a senior home, the teachers at your child’s school, or a network of friends.
g Joy– Read the book Spreading Joy Daily by Marie Wikle and find ways to share the love of Christ with others. The book is filled with simple ways to make a difference.
Cooking– My mother-in-law calls me her “Meals on Wheels” because I bring her homemade foods. If you are making a family meal, double the batch of spaghetti, soup, stew or lasagna. Package this with a loaf of bread and deliver it to your neighbors, family member or a coworker. Use the element of surprise and make their day special when you bring an unexpected meal. Make a batch of cookies, brownies or cupcakes and each day during the week find someone you can share them with. Make something healthy from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook or make comfort foods from Magnolia Home Cookbook or Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Cookbook. My family likes meals from all of these great books.
Giving Your Time– Spend 40 days giving your time and attention to your friend, spouse, children or family members. Pull yourself away from Facebook and social media, from the distractions of the television or internet…and center your time on someone else. Make a list with the number 1-40 and each day write a name of someone you are going to give time to. You can make a phone call, send an email, mail a card, or visit in person. Take the focus off yourself and your needs and give time to someone else.
These are just a few ideas to start you thinking about your own 40-day spiritual journey. The decision to spend 40 days focused on God is yours alone. Pray over this and see if you are led to do something or possibly wait for another time. Know that during your 40 days with God you will attract the attention of the enemy and he will throw flaming arrows your way. Stand firm with the shield of faith and keep your eyes and heart on God.
Fasting is not dieting! Remember, do NOT fast from any foods without your doctor’s approval. Be safe!
feature images: Hautestock.co
LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION! Share your fasting experiences and encourage one another in the comments below.
Subscribe to email updates and READ them. We send updates announcing new online Bible studies, book club and live events.
Get a book. We use study workbooks from numerous Bible teachers. Most books are available at Amazon, Lifeway and Christian books. Sometimes the book is available in Kindle format.
Select a small group. Our small groups meet seven days a week, morning and evening. Look for a small group that fits your schedule. Attend the same time each week if you want to fellowship and create friendships with Christian women online.
Read daily. We use study workbooks with daily reading assignments. Make God a priority and schedule time to meet with Him each day for study. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you as you read the lessons. Finish your reading assignment before your small group meets, so that you are prepared to answer questions from the book.
Use a Bible. There are more than 150 Bible translations and it can be confusing to decide which one to use for your study. Select the translation you understand best, or use the same translation as your local church. Free sites such as BibleGateway.com and BlueLetterBible.org have excellent resources for study
Pray constantly. Pray for clarity and understanding as you study. Pray for your small group leaders and the women participating in your group each week. Praying keeps you accountable to your community and keeps you from being isolated.
Show up. Be a voice in the discussion groups and allow the Holy Spirit to move through your stories. Everyone adds value- from the new Believer to the longest.
Everyone is always asking me for advice on how to organize their prayers. Before I started my Simple Prayer Box Method I had prayers written on Post-It notes, torn sheets of paper, emails to myself, and even note apps on my devices. Because my prayers were on different formats, when I entered the prayer closet to pray I had a stack or torn papers which looked like junk mail. Heartbreaking.
Praying shouldn’t be frustrating. When I tried to keep all those prayers together, they were a mess! There was no method for updating prayers. Often the same prayer for a friend was written in three different places. It was time for my prayer life to change.
I’m Christine Abraham and many women have asked me for advice on how to organize their prayer time. When I started this idea a few years ago my one focus word for the year was ‘simplicity.’ Like you, I wanted a simple method to organize my prayers and a reminder to pray for family and friends. Here’s my method…
How to Create a Simple Prayer Box
You’ll need these items for your prayer box:
Index card file box with key
Index card blank tabs
Index card 1-31 tabs (optional)
I found my file box at Walmart and another one at the local office supply store. You can also find them at Amazon in pretty colors: pink, white, or silver and black. I was not able to find the index blank tabs locally so I bought them online. My friend Deborah Oliver made this pretty box for herself.
How to Use Your Simple Prayer Box
Organize your box using the index tabs. Here’s how I have organized my box using these tabs:
Ministry leaders at Womens Bible Cafe™
Ministry Leaders in other ministries
Scripture Verses- (Beth Moore SSMT and my memory verses)
My Bible study small groups
Church- my local church, other churches, pastors
Fasting- when I am fasting I keep cards on my prayers and answered prayers
Prayer Room- these are the women who post prayer requests online
Country and Government
Daily tabs 1-31
Behind each tab I keep the names in alphabetical order, it’s easier for me to find the name of a friend and add her prayer to her card. If someone has a scheduled surgery, mammogram, doctor’s appointment, job interview, etc.- I use the numbered tabs and move her card there so I remember to pray for her on a specific date. I also use the numbered tabs to remember birthdays. Under monthly tabs I keep a record of the dates to celebrate the life of a loved one, anniversaries, or special events.
During my quiet time with the Lord, I pull a stack of cards and pray through them. If I am convicted of a Scripture verse, I write it on the prayer card including the date. Several of my friends have breast cancer, so I keep all their names on a single card and set aside time to pray for them as a group. When prayers are answered, I write this on my card.
You could write the address, phone number and email of your friends on the top or back of the card. Then as you are praying send them a text message, or if you have the time, a handwritten card. Don’t complicate this…as you create your own prayer box pray and ask the Lord how to keep it simple so that you will use it.
I’d love to see photos and ideas from your own prayer boxes, so please post them on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. These are wonderful gifts ideas for your girlfriends and Bible study leaders. It’s also a good activity for local small groups to create their boxes together.
Do not buy index cards at Walmart, I discovered the paper is really thin and doesn’t hold up well. If you want to save money, split the cost of the blank tabs with a friend, or don’t use the 1-31 tabs. Keep in mind this is something you’ll use for years, so the initial cost is small compared to the long-term use!
UPDATE: it’s been several years since I started this and I love seeing your prayer boxes. Women are telling me stories on how these boxes remind them to pray and what to pray. They are PERFECT GIFTS for friends and family.
Notes: I tried the larger 4×6 box and it was too bulky, so I went back to the 3×5 box. I keep index cards near my computer and when I am online and see a prayer request, I write this on the card and put into my box so I don’t lose it.
Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com