I started looking around for a new daily devotional for 2012, and I ended up coming across too many. I came across some really good ones I haven’t read yet, but now have always had all intentions to read. This list, to some, may be a little too high church for them, but the wisdom put forth into these devotionals is pretty amazing, written by some pretty amazingly committed Believers.
I will state the obvious that none of these below will take the place of reading the inspired Word, the wisdom placed into God’s own book far outweighs any of the books below, so if there is only time in the day to read one book, for only a short period of time, make it the Bible instead of any of these books below, and I’m sure each of the authors below would agree with that. With that said, the best online Bible reading plans are located on YouVersion, so check those out as well.
The list below is all linked over to the Kindle version on Amazon, but each has a corresponding paper version. I just gave up on trying to have books shipped, the availability, and usually lower cost, of Kindle books just far outweighs the hassle of paper now, to me, for the most part anyway (see Printed Books vs iPad or Kindle eBooks and the Future of Books from back in March, or this I wrote back in 2009).
- The Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
I decided to choose the “updated version” of this classical devotion since it is better annotated on the Kindle version at this point than the “traditional” version (first published in 1935). I think there is a lot of value in the original language of the traditional version, but having read neither in full, I decided to go with one that has a little easier language to start. Oswald Chambers was gifted with extracting the essence of biblical principles and condensing them into potent, thought-provoking, and life-changing devotions.
They don’t take a lot of time to read, but they can infuse you with the timeless truths of the Bible. In this edition of My Utmost for His Highest, you get updated-language daily devotionals that have become an enduring favorite because Oswald Chambers used his spiritual gifts so wisely and generously. Compiled from lectures given at the Bible Training College in London, to nightly talks in an Egyptian YMCA during World War I, My Utmost for His Highest will lend a powerful spiritual dimension to your walk with God. (some excerpts via Amazon)
- Disciplines, a Daily Book of Devotional by The Upper Room
The Upper Room is a publication that is, in part, produced by the United Methodist Church. The Upper Room is a global ministry, which is technically interdenominational, dedicated to supporting the spiritual formation of Christians seeking to know and experience God more fully. While they now produce far more than The Upper Room devotional, this devotional publication has stood the test of time more so than many other devotionals. For more information about their ministry you can visit them at upperroom.org.
- A Year with C. S. Lewis by C. S. Lewis
This devotional is a fascinating find to me. It is a publication that C.S. Lewis never put together himself, but editors have taken pieces of his writings to place them in one daily reader. This book of daily readings, culled from C.S. Lewis’s major nonfiction writings like The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, Miracles and A Grief Observed, might be called the thinking Christian’s devotional: it is deeper and meatier than most other devotionals on the market.
With 366 entries (including one for Leap Year) that are typically one or two paragraphs each, Klein has managed to distill some of the most memorable passages from Lewis’s famous corpus. Interestingly, she includes a bit of Lewis trivia for each day of the year, and often pairs the reading with the biographical information: for example, we learn that on March 21, 1957, Lewis married Joy Davidman Gresham, and the entry for that day is about their marriage. Three separate indices list the sources by book, by day and by selection title or theme. (some excerpts via Amazon)
- I Want to Live These Days with You: A Year of Daily Devotions by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This is the classical Bonhoeffer daily reader. Bonhoeffer put together this set of devotionals upon the closing of his seminary, Finkenwalde, when it was declared illegal and closed by the German Gestapo. The treatise contains Bonhoeffer’s thoughts about the nature of Christian community based on the common life that he and his seminarians experienced at the seminary and in the “Brother’s House” there. Bonhoeffer completed the writing of Life Together in 1938. Prayerbook of the Bible is a classic of Christian spirituality. In this theological interpretation of the Psalms, Bonhoeffer describes the moods of an individual’s relationship with God and also the turns of love and heartbreak, of joy and sorrow, that are themselves the Christian community’s path to God. (some excerpts above are from Amazon)
- Life Together and Prayerbook of the Bible (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works) by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
This collection of inspirational writings from Dietrich Bonhoeffer is drawn from his many works and presented here as a series of daily meditations to last throughout the year. Organized under monthly themes, these prayers, sermons, meditations, letters, and notes offer readers a new glimpse at how Bonhoeffer understood the meaning of faith and discipleship. Featuring selections from classic works such as The Cost of Discipleship and Letters and Papers from Prison, this set of writings follows the church year, making it ideal for year-long devotional use by readers seeking to be challenged and enlightened by Bonhoeffer’s call to find God at the center of their lives. (some excerpts via Amazon)
I guess this is where it gets really high church, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of value in this book. This book, especially this highly annotated copy on Kindle, provides everything from daily prayers to events on the Christian calendar. The Kindle TOC (table of contents) in this book is so extensive, making it quite an impressive Kindle book, and it’s price can’t be beat at only $2.99.
This is the Episcopal version of the Catholic Missal (which is absent on Amazon Kindle in the same version as above), and the book that the Episcopal Church uses in its services. I have only recently been introduced to this book, and it has an amazing amount of wisdom. This Kindle version contains both versions from 1979 and 1789, which contains The Book of Common Prayer, Administration of the Sacraments, Other Rites, Ceremonies of the Church, and The Psalter or Psalms of David. Worth the read no matter what your denomination.