With each turn of a new year, my list of favorite daily devotional books grows.
But for too long, I thought I wasn’t reading daily devotionals the “right” way unless I read them as they were intended to be read. A single entry for a single day. All 365 days, all in order, all checked off on a neat little list at the end of the year.
The problem is, all 365 boxes never got checked off.
And the perfectionist in me would decide that since I hadn’t done daily devotionals the “right” way, I shouldn’t be trying to do them at all.
But I’m learning to overcome my perfectionist tendencies, and I’ve gotten creative about how I read devotional books. Sometimes I save a week’s worth of devotions and read them all at once on a Sunday afternoon. Or I pack a curated collection with me on vacation and read them poolside. When a Pacific Northwest storm roars outside my seaside house, I’m inclined to make myself a cup of hot tea, curl up with a blanket, and browse through whatever devotional book feels most comforting.
I’m inviting you to embrace daily devotional books, too—in whatever way works for you.
Will you scatter copies around your house so you’re never far from one? Add one to your e-reader so it’s handy the next time you’re waiting in line? Buy two copies of the same devotional so you and a friend can chat about it over coffee?
I hope you’ll look through the books listed here and find one that grabs your interest. And I hope you’ll send me an email to tell me your thoughts about what you’re reading.
A complete Bible as well as a daily devotional, God’s Word for Gardeners edited by Shelley Cramm gathers horticultural information about the Bible’s plants, landscapes, and cultivating practices, and covers topics like the gardener’s work, rewards of gardening, the influence of seasons and weather, and the joy of the harvest. A reading guide offers an easy way to stay on track. Link to my complete book review here.
Most Likely to Suggest Nostalgia
Despite having been written in the previous century, the messages in Martyn Lloyd-Jones‘s devotional Walking With God Day By Day are timeless. Each entry includes a daily scripture reading, insightful commentary, and a thought to meditate on throughout the day. Topics covered include the presence of and characteristics of angels, the prayers of Jesus, the definition of revival, and markers that indicate God’s love is in our lives. Link to my complete book review here.
Best Book Study
The One Year Book of Psalms features short daily devotions based on the Psalms. Readers who want to study a bit more will appreciate the well-presented background notes, word explanations, and notable quotes. Link to my complete book review here.
Best Gift Idea
The One Year Book of Bible Prayers features daily readings of prayers from the Bible, plus short meditations and a sentence for readers to begin their own prayers. This book would be easy to pick up and start reading at any point during the year.
Best For A Picnic With A Friend
The devotions in How Great Thou Art: 365 Reasons Why God Is Awesome are organized in a way that each month focuses on an attribute of God. Each devotional includes a short scripture reading, followed by notes from well-known Christian authors such as Charles Spurgeon, John Piper, D. L. Moody, A. W. Tozer, and others. The numbered day of the year is printed along the edge of each page, making it easy for readers to flip to a desired page.
Best For A Cozy Afternoon
Christian Romance writer Grace Livingston Hill‘s light and fun For Each New Day is especially nice for fiction writers. Each day’s entry consists of a short scripture followed by one or two sentences written by Hill, often from her novels or journals. For Each New Day is less of a study devotional and more of an I-know-this-will-make-me-smile-so-I’ll read-it-with-a-chai-latte kind of book.
Joni Eareckson Tada calls the daily entries in Pearls of Great Price “vignettes.” A short scripture passage, followed by Tada’s genuine thoughts, is often focused on eternal hope and the Savior. Tada also includes her lovely artwork throughout the book.
Most Tried and True
A mainstay since 1935, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers is readily available in different formats and versions. Each devotion is completely free of “fluff” and every phrase is key, so readers may want to read through the day’s message, then spend more time thinking about it.
Best New Release
My dear friend and mentor, Cheri Gregory, has co-authored a new devotional with her good friend, Kathi Lipp. A copy of An Abundant Place: Daily Retreats for the Woman Who Can’t Get Away is on its way to my mailbox, and I know I’m in for a treat.
Best To Come
I really wanted to include a daily devotional that invites readers to sketch or color. An artist friend tells me she has searched for this style of devotional, too, and has mostly come up empty-handed. What is my friend doing about it? Dreaming up designs for her own artistic devotional, of course! For now, you and I can watch Sarah Marie’s artistry unfold.
With the turn of this new year, how will you get creative with daily devotional books? As Shelley Cramm writes in God’s Word For Gardeners:
May you come outside and play. May you embrace his possibilities and live with nothing less.
(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.)