As the beginning of the Lenten season approaches, we turn our attention as a church to self-examination and spiritual formation. Here is part 1 of our suggestions for books to guide you through the upcoming season.
Lenten Devotional Books
Trinity School for Ministry 2016 Lenten Devotional
This is a great little devotional, filled with spiritual insight. As a student of Trinity, I’ve used their books for the past three years for Lent and Advent and each has blessed me. One of the beauties of this book is a different person (men and women, young and old, seminarian and professor) writes a devotional based on one or more of the daily lectionary scripture passages so you get to experience a different feel/perspective each day. Recommended by Nobie Hendricks.
Lent and Easter: Wisdom From Henri J. M. Nouwen by Judy Bauer
This devotional takes you from Ash Wednesday all the way through Easter. Each day provides a selection from scripture, a prayer, and words of wisdom to be pondered, so that we may become more aware of our weakness, our need for Jesus, and Christ’s triumph over sin. If you haven’t had the joy of reading Henri Nouwen before, this is a wonderful way to start. Recommended by Karen Giardina
Spiritual Formation Books
Our Favorite Sins: The Sins We Commit and How You Can Quit, by Bishop Todd Hunter
Written by our own Bishop Todd Hunter, this book addresses the sins we all struggle with. For some it is an addiction and for others it is behavior that separates us from God (anxiety, worry, fear, etc.). He explains that if we get to the root of the problem, our disordered desires, we can begin to leave these sins behind and regain life as God intended, filled with joy, hope and peace, devoted fully to Jesus. Recommended by Karen Giardina.
Christian Spirituality: An Introduction by Alister E. McGrath
If you are looking to understand the spiritual practices of Christians from traditions other than your own, this book will open your eyes to the rich experience of Roman Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians. In this valuable resource, Dr. McGrath also provides many suggestions for further reading and wisdom from other Christians for growing as a follower of Jesus. Recommended by Jed Roseberry.
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation by Ruth Haley Barton
Barton makes trying spiritual disciplines sound inviting as she guides you into practices like spending time in solitude and self-examination. This book is a great starting place if you have always wanted a more balanced spiritual life and haven’t known where to start. Recommended by Jed Roseberry.
Books on Prayer
Teach Us to Want: Longing, Ambition and the Life of Faith by Jen Pollock Michel
This book was awarded Christianity Today’s book of the year in 2014 and was the best book I read in 2015. Michel writes a powerful mediation on the Lord’s Prayer that challenges me to question if my desire is truly for Jesus and his kingdom or for lesser things that draw me away. I can’t say enough wonderful things about this book. Recommended by Amy Flickinger.
The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God by Frederica Mathewes-Green
Matthews-Green is a winsome advocate for the spirituality of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The most basic prayer of every Orthodox Christian is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me” and she guides her reader through the practice of living and breathing this prayer every hour of every day. This book is easy to read and to begin to apply in your life immediately. Recommended by Amy Flickinger.