I’ll be the first to admit it: This post is a little late. Likely you’ve already found a good devotional for 2021. But in case you’re like me and have had a difficult time getting organized and geared up for the year ahead, I thought I’d offer a few suggestions for devotional materials (including some you can listen to) with descriptions and reasons I like them.
- Sacred Space: The Prayer Book 2021 by the Irish Jesuits
Description: Each day of this devotional “includes a Scripture reading and points of reflection, as well as a weekly topic enhanced by six steps of prayer and contemplation.” It prints the Scripture for each day (in case you forgot your Bible) and offers two to three thoughts to reflect on during the day.
Why I like it: This resource focuses on Scripture without a lot of commentary, stories, or fluff.
2. Pray As You Go Podcast by Britain Jesuits
Description: Also by Jesuits, this podcast lasts about 12-15 minutes each day. It “combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection.” After a few seconds of music, it opens with Scripture reading, followed by alternating silence and reflective questions. (And the audio is British, so it sounds cool!)
Why I like it: I used this podcast when I had an hour-long commute to work, and it was the perfect way to start my day (unless I was sleepy!). It also focuses on Scripture and reflection without lots of opinion or commentary.
3. Jesus Calling by Sarah Young
Description: You’ll either love or hate this series. (She has written several of these devotionals.) Some people are offended because the author wrote it in first-person as if Jesus were speaking. Here’s a short example: “Follow me one step at a time. That is all I require of you.” It also contains the biblical references upon which the devotion is based. This series also offers children’s versions.
Why I like it: I think it’s a creative way to write a devotional. I don’t think the author intends to speak in the place of God, but rather offers a way for readers to hear the truth of Scripture in a unique way. When I used this resource, I would read the Scripture before I read the devo.
4. My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Description: This is considered a devotional classic and I agree. Originally written in 1935, you can purchase it in its original language (more formal) or an updated version in today’s language. Chambers was converted in his teens under the ministry of Charles Spurgeon.
Why I like it: Some classics never get old. This is one of them. Chambers doesn’t pull any punches, so if you want a devotional that packs dense truth in bite-size chunks, this one is for you.
5. Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner
Description: This book contains short excerpts from Buechner’s writings, one devotional thought per day. It doesn’t offer Scripture passages to read, so I use this one if I’m running short on time. When I have more time, I read a Bible passage and then read from this devo. It’s a good quick read to keep on your desk at work.
Why I like it: If you love Buechner, you’ll understand why I like this resource. His turn of phrases and use of words make language sing.
I know of lots of other good devotions out there, but I haven’t used them. However, I can recommend them based on the authors’ other writing. Here’s a list:
- Praying God’s Word Day by Day by Beth Moore
- Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot
- A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works
- 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs
- God is With You Every Day by Max Lucado
- Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God Is Holding You Close by Lysa TerKeurst
- Live in Grace, Walk in Love by Bob Goff
- Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon
- Surrendered: 40 Devotions to Help You Let Go and Live Like Jesus by Barb Roose
- Devotional Classics, Revised and Expanded Edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith
Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite devotional resources? Comment below!