5 Resources for Daily Devotionals

There are many amazing, faithful people who pop open the Bible each morning to the place they left off and start reading.  They’ll read a passage or a chapter, pause for some reflection or journaling, and repeat the process the next day.  I think that’s beautiful and admirable…I really do.  But if I’m honest, some mornings the way I feel about the Bible is exactly the same way I felt about girls in high school.  I know it’s something I want in my life, I’m fascinated and drawn to it, there’s a deep hunger for it…but I can also feel pretty intimidated, a little awkward, and I’m worried that I might be reading this situation totally wrong!

I may be admitting my own spiritual immaturity to the whole internet, but I’ve found it incredibly helpful to use another resource alongside the bible in my devotional time…to be in conversation with theologians, authors, poets, and regular folks who have a passion for sharing how God speaks to them through scripture.  I also figure that the fullest picture of who God is and how God acts in the world won’t just come from my own thoughts…that maybe it’s when different humble, honest, faithful voices come together with their diverse perspectives that we get the fullest picture of God.

So often, I wake up in the morning with this laundry list of things to do rattling around in my head.  Meetings to go to, emails to send, bills I forgot to pay, friends to call back, chores around the house that need to get done, groceries to buy…and those are the good days!  On the bad ones I wake up with a laundry list of grievances to file – I’ve got a meeting to go to that I don’t care about, I’m upset someone didn’t send out an email they said they would, Ashlee didn’t put gas in the car and now I’m running late and so she goes on the grievance list…

These are the thoughts that goes through my head as I’m rushing to go out the door.  This is my perspective and my reality.  But on the mornings when I take 10 minutes to slow down, breathe, and make room to listen to God, everything changes.  It’s like a spiritual tooth brush…all the bad morning breath I woke up with gets replaced by something fresh.  I receive the gift of perspective.

The second thing about devotionals is they are often a gift I’m able to give to others.  I’ll find myself having lunch with a friend and realize that what I’ve read in the morning seems to apply directly to what they’re experiencing…and I can then share what my own heart has been meditating on during the day.  I mean this kind of thing happens all the time…but it takes me spending that time in the morning in reflection to be able to have anything to offer to others later in the day.

Here are 5 Recommendations for Daily Devotionals

A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and Other Servants by Rueben P. Job

This classic devotional and prayer book includes thematically arranged material for each week of the year as well as themes and schedules for 12 personal retreats. The authors have adopted the following daily format for this prayer book: daily invocations, readings, scripture, reflection, prayers, weekly hymns, benedictions and printed psalms. (review from Amazon.com)

New Testament for Everyone by NT Wright

N. T. Wright has undertaken a tremendous task: to provide guides to all the books of the New Testament, and to include in them his own translation of the entire text. Each short passage is followed by a highly readable discussion, with background information, useful explanations and suggestions, and thoughts as to how the text can be relevant to our lives today. There are 18 books in the series, but you can start with any book in the new testament.

Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner By Frederick Buechner

Recommended by Rev. Mark Fenstermacher.  These fresh daily meditations are taken from the writings of Frederick Buechner.

Yes, and…: Daily Mediations By Richard Rohr

Recommended to me by Sarah Sparks-Franklin, this book features 366 daily meditations, each penned by Richard Rohr.

Upper Room Daily Devotional

http://devotional.upperroom.org/

The Upper Room magazine’s mission is to provide a model of practical Christianity, accessible in varied formats, to help people feel invited and welcomed into God’s presence.  It’s made up of different people who write in with their own stories, so there are many varied perspectives which is nice.

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