There are any number of resources available for what has become known as our daily devotional reading as a part of our daily worship. I try to do my reading early in the morning. Although the resources I use change from time to time, below are six recommended resources that I would commend to you:
- Tabletalk Magazine. Tabletalk has been a consistent source for me since I became a believer. While the monthly magazine from Ligonier Ministries includes many great articles each month, here I’m referring to the daily readings.
- The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms by Tim and Kathy Keller. This relatively new book is a daily devotional that takes the reader through every verse of the book of Psalms in 365 days, with each devotional providing the reader with a daily reading from a psalm. It also gives the reader a brief meditation on the meaning of the psalm and a prayer to help us to actually use it in our heart and as a way to approach God. The authors ask us to look at the prayers as what they call “on-ramps,” not as complete prayers. They ask us to follow the trajectory of the prayers and keep going, filling each prayer out with personal particulars, as well as always praying in Jesus’s name (John 14:13).
- The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett.The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett. Arthur Bennett (1915-1994), was an English-born minister, tutor, and author who loved to study the Puritans. He has drawn the prayers in this much loved modern-day spiritual classic from what he refers to as the largely forgotten deposit of Puritan spiritual exercises, meditations and aspirations. He states that this book of Puritan prayers has a unity not often found in similar works. The title of the book comes from Isaiah 22:1 “The oracle concerning the valley of vision….” The book was first published in 1975. The research for this book took years to complete, most likely done in the mid-1960’s through the early 1970’s.Bennett’s desire is that the publication of these prayers will help to introduce people of today to the Puritans and their writings. It is a wonderful resource to read in daily devotions, which is how I use it. Bennett states that the book is not intended to be read as a prayer manual. He writes that the soul learns to pray by praying. Thus, the prayers should be used as aspiration units, with the Puritan’s prayers becoming springboards for our own prayers. A final section of the book has been added for occasions of corporate worship.
- Scotty Smith’s Prayers. I’ve enjoyed the writings of Scotty Smith since reading his first book Object of His Affection. I was blessed to have two classes with him at Covenant Seminary a few years ago. Scotty has released two books of prayers, 2011’s Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith and 2016’s Every Season Prayers: Gospel-Centered Prayers for the Whole of Life. You can also sign up to receive Scotty’s Heavenward prayers to be sent to your email inbox each day.
One of my final assignments in seminary was to revisit some of my previous classes and assignments. My favorite class in seminary was Scotty’s “Disciplines of Grace”. One evening in early 2014 we enjoyed a wonderful phone call looking back at that class. As our time was ending, Scotty asked “Can I pray for us?” So I was able to hear him pray just as you will through his wonderful books and daily Heavenward prayers. Each prayer takes only a few minutes, and you will be amazed how many times they address something that you too have been dealing with, something I’ve told him more than once, and he has personally heard from people around the world.
- Walking with God Day by Day: 365 Daily Devotional Selections by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Martyn Lloyd-Jones was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London for thirty years and one of the twentieth century’s leading voices in evangelical doctrine and preaching. But he is perhaps more popular and influential these days than ever before due in part to the recent film project Logic on Fire and the book Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century by his eldest grandson Christopher Catherwood. Last year I read his classic Spiritual Depression and I’m currently working through his wonderful Studies in the Sermon on the Mount.
This is a daily devotional containing short excerpts from many of Lloyd-Jones’s books. The daily readings cover a number of subjects such as salvation, the Gospel, revival, the Kingdom of God, knowing God, the victory of faith, and many more. The reader is told where the reading came from in the event that they want to check out that particular resource. In addition, each reading ends with a helpful “Thought to Ponder”. For example, in a reading from God the Holy Spirit, the thought to ponder was: “Notice the names or the descriptive titles given to the Holy Spirit.”
- Robert Morgan’s Books on Hymns. I love reading hymn stories – who wrote them, when and why they were written, etc. Robert Morgan has several wonderful books that feature stories about the great hymns of the faith. Tammy and I are reading through his 2010 book Then Sings My Soul Special Edition: 150 of the World’s Greatest Hymn Stories. I read the short article about the hymn and then Tammy sings the hymn. Believe me, it’s really best that way! For my morning devotional reading I’ve been using Morgan’s Near to the Heart of God: Meditations on 366 Best-Loved Hymns.
These are devotional reading resources that I would commend to you. What books are you using for your daily worship?