Devotional Reading Resources for 2020 – Pick One…or Two!
There are a number of excellent resources available for our daily devotional reading as a part of our daily worship. I try to do my reading early in the morning, usually while riding the exercise bike. Here are some of the resources that I have used in past years that I would commend to you:
This daily devotional 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).
God’s Wisdom for Navigating Life: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Book of Proverbs by Tim and Kathy Keller. This devotional follows the same format as the Keller’s first devotional book The Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the Psalms. This book uses daily readings from the book of Proverbs.
Click on ‘Continue Reading’ for 7 more recommended daily devotionals.
New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul Tripp. Each morning, Paul Tripp tweets three gospel thoughts about the Christian faith on Twitter. His goal with the tweets is to confront and comfort people with the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He wants people to see that the grace of the gospel is not so much about changing the religious aspect of their lives, but about everything in life that defines, identifies, and motivates them. Through his daily tweets, he is calling people to see the gospel as a window through which they are to look at everything in life.
Those daily tweets inspired this book of 365 daily devotional readings, a book I enjoyed as a part of my daily readings in 2019. Each day’s reading opens with one of his gospel tweets, lightly edited, and then a meditation that expands on the tweet. The reading ends with a passage of scripture included under “For Further Study and Encouragement”.
The author writes that the devotional is a call for us to remember…
~ The horrible disaster of sin
~ Jesus, who stood in our place.
~ The transforming power of the grace we couldn’t have earned.
~ The destiny that is guaranteed to all of God’s blood-purchased children.
~ His sovereignty and his glory.
~ The remembering is spiritual war, and for this we need grace.
The title of the book is not only a reference to the way the Bible talks about grace, but also an allusion to the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness”, lyrics written by Thomas Chisholm and music by William M. Runyan:
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
Scotty Smith’s Prayers. I’ve enjoyed the writing 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 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.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. This classic devotional from Charles Spurgeon includes a reading for each morning and evening of the year. Alistair Begg, who has a deep love for Spurgeon’s preaching and this work, has carefully modernized Spurgeon’s English. This edition uses the English Standard Version (ESV) as the scriptural text.
Here are the resources that I’ll be using in 2020 for my daily devotional reading (keep in mind that I’m retired and have more time to read):
I read through the Bible a chapter a day, and I’m just starting the book of Isaiah. Again in 2020, I’ll be using the new Spurgeon Study Bible, edited by Alistair Begg, for the daily reading, and using the Reformation Study Bible, General Editor, R.C. Sproul, for book introductions.
Tabletalk Magazine. Tabletalk has been a consistent daily companion of mine 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. Each year, the readings follow a theme. The 2020 readings begin with a study of 1 Thessalonians.
The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett. 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 Puritans’ prayers becoming springboards for our own prayers. A final section of the book has been added for occasions of corporate worship.
Live in Grace, Walk in Love: A 365-Day Journey by Bob Goff. I’ve enjoyed Bob Goff’s books Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World and Everybody, Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People. This new book of short daily readings will appeal to anyone who enjoyed those books.
Knowing God and Ourselves: Reading Calvin’s Institutes Devotionally by David Calhoun. Two of my early classes at Covenant Seminary were church history classes taught by Dr. David Calhoun. Those classes were foundational for me. I look forward to reading Calvin’s Institutes devotionally with him this year.
The Meaning of Marriage: A Couple’s Devotional: A Year of Daily Devotions by Tim Keller and Kathy Keller. The Kellers wrote The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God in 2011. In the “Introduction” of this new devotional, Kathy Keller indicates that it is not necessary to have read the earlier book in order to benefit from the new devotional. She then recaps some of the basic themes of The Meaning of Marriage, such as:
• The main problem every marriage faces is the self-centeredness in both spouse’s hearts, and
• The essence of marriage is a covenant, a binding promise.
Kathy tells us that the purpose of this couple’s devotional is to provide an opportunity for sustained and practical reflection on love and marriage within a Christian perspective. The authors have both expanded on and broke down the themes and lessons into short meditations, looking at each concept in its various aspects and proposing application questions and practices. The devotional pulls out passages from The Meaning of Marriage and provides an opportunity to think out the personal implications of one very specific aspect of Christian marriage each day.
The devotional format is as follows:
• On the first week of each month, there is Scripture text regarding love, sex, and marriage, followed by a meditation on an aspect of the biblical teaching
• After that there is a reflection, which is a set of application questions, followed with a brief example of a prayer about the subject.
• On each day of the other three weeks of every month they begin with a quote from The Meaning of Marriage instead of a Bible verse, followed by a meditation and a reflection.
• Lastly, there is a “Thought for prayer” that gives some ideas for how you can pray the topic of the day into your heart and life.
While The Meaning of Marriage was not written only for married couples, the devotional is designed for married couples, as well as unmarried couples who are engaged or who are considering marriage. The devotional can either be read aloud to each other, or read individually. If it is read individually, each person should write down their thoughts, and regularly meet with their spouse to discuss their insights and findings.
I look forward to using this book with Tammy as a part of our devotional readings.
As you can see, I have a lot of diversity in my devotional reading for 2020 – from Bob Goff to Calvin’s Institutes! What books are you planning to use as a part of your daily worship?