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Devotional Resources for Lent 2019
The 40 days of Lent are a good time to focus one’s heart and mind through devotional reading and prayer. There are countless devotionals designed to help with that, but so many have been written over the years that it can be very confusing and bewildering to sort through them. An added complication comes from the fact that what works for one person might not be the best for someone else. The resources listed below are ones that our church has used in the past, or that come highly recommended, or that someone on our staff has found really helpful. They come from various theological traditions and we might not always agree with every detail, but they are still very helpful. The list can at least give you a start in your search for a good Lenten “companion.” Spending a little time each day with one of these books can help you “feel your way” to a much better place of prayer and connection with God. NOTE: If you use a devotional resource that is not on the list that you find really helpful, please let us know.

Chole, Alicia Britt. 40 Days of Decrease: A Different Kind of Hunger. A Different Kind of Fast. W. Publishing Group, 2016.
I (Frank) used this a few years ago and it is one of my favorites. Along with very thoughtful writing it features little nuggets on the history of Lenten practice in the church. Very worthwhile.

Griffin, Emilie. Small Surrenders: A Lenten Journey. Paraclete Press, 2007.
HVC did a series on this in 2017 and it was very helpful. So often we associate spirituality with moments that are heroic and strenuous and extraordinary. What if some of the greatest moments are really just … small? Emilie Griffin does a great job of helping you think through the surrenders that will help your spiritual life.

Guite, Malcolm. The Word in the Wilderness: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter. Canterbury Press, 2014.
I am not a poetry person, but on the recommendation of a mentor I went through this for Lent recently. It brought a whole new level of insight and experience for me. Guite is a poet, but in addition to his own works he cites those of various Christian poets through the ages. Unique. Give it a try.

McKnight, Scot. 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed. Paraclete Press, 2008.
A lot of people love Scot McKnight’s writing and this is a favorite of many. While not written specifically for Lent, its 40-day format lends itself to the season. The focus is on the very simple but very core idea of what it means to love God and love others. It begins with Jesus and then follows those ideas through the rest of the New Testament.

Muldoon, Tim. The Ignatian Workout for Lent: 40 Days of Prayer, Reflection, and Action. Loyola Press, 2013.
Muldoon does a great job of giving you a vision of what it means to become a “spiritual athlete” through daily spiritual exercises, and this one takes you through all 40 days of Lent. Will put muscle on your soul.

Nouwen, Henri. Show Me the Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent. Crossroad Publishing Co., 1992.
Nouwen is always good. This is a compilation of his writings from previous books that speak to the heart during this season.

Rolheiser, Ronald. The Passion and the Cross. Franciscan Media, 2015.
You have heard me quote Rolheiser pretty regularly since I read his blog weekly and have gotten a great deal out of his books. In my experience, not for everyone, but if you like his style you will receive insights and challenges unlike any others you have encountered. Very wise.

Sheppard, Trent. Jesus Journey: Shattering the Stained Glass Superhero and Discovering the Humanity of God. Zondervan, 2017.
A little edgier, as I recall, but helpful for focusing on directly on Jesus. Sheppard writes with imagination and invites you to think about Jesus in fresh ways.

Smith, James Bryan. Hidden in Christ: Living as God’s Beloved. IVP Books, 2013.
Smith is a “disciple” of Dallas Willard and a great popularizer/interpreter of Willard’s thinking on spiritual formation. There are just 30 chapters here instead of 40, but you’ll probably miss reading on some of those days anyway! Very accessible.

Various Writers. Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter. Orbis Books (originally published by Plough Publishing House), 2003.
This book stands out from others by virtue of the fact that the chapters are of differing lengths and written by a wide spectrum of classic writers throughout church history … everyone from Martin Luther and John Donne, to C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Day, to contemporary writers, including Philip Yancey, John Updike, Frederick Buechner, Madeleine L’Engle, Henri Nouwen and Brennan Manning. More than 40 chapters, so it’s like a spiritual buffet. Eat all you want!

Frank

 

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