Can You Recommend a Good Devotional?

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"Can you recommend a good devotional?" I suspect this is a question that pastors are frequently asked. I know it is one that I receive fairly often. I typically get this question because of my work with the Office of Social Justice. Christians want reflections that will keep them centered on Christ as they seek to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8).

Here are twelve resources that I have used and would recommend for ordering one’s life around the worship of God while seeking to serve God as an agent of God’s justice and peace.

Center for Contemplation and Action

Richard Rohr

Anyone can sign up for daily or weekly devotional reflections from Richard Rohr via email. Rohr is a Franciscan Roman Catholic priest. This resource is free of charge.

Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

Shane Claiborne, Enuma Okoro, and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

There are two published versions of this book, a larger one and a pocket edition. Daily devotions are also accessible on their website free of charge.

Seeking God’s Face

Philip F. Reinders

This little devotional from Faith Alive is a lovely resource for daily reflection and prayer.

Street Psalms: Word from Below

Kris Rocke and Joel Van Dyke

Weekly devotions are sent to subscribers by email. Van Dyke is a missionary with Christian Reformed World Missions. This resource is free of charge.

The Divine Hours

Phyllis Tickle

Tickle lays out Scripture and prayers for reflection for the different seasons of the year in these three books. Tickle was a member of the Episcopal Church.

ESV Reader’s Gospels 

This binding of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John makes for a powerful way to read the gospel narratives. I spent a year reading the gospels in this format, over and over again, for personal devotions.

The following books are not written in the format of daily or weekly devotions, but are ones that I have used for personal devotions, reading chapter by chapter, alongside Scripture.

The Very Good Gospel

Lisa Sharon Harper

Harper, who works for Sojourners, is part of the Evangelical Covenant Church. In this book, Harper reflects on Genesis, shalom, and God’s intentions for creation.

Chasing the Divine in the Holy Land

Ruth Everhart

Written as a memoir of a visit to the holy land, Everhart’s short chapters and powerful reflections on the geographical locations of Scripture make for thoughtful devotions.

Just Spirituality

Mae Elise Cannon

In this book, Cannon reflects on the lives of seven men and women whose practice of spiritual disciplines fueled social activism. Cannon is a pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Wanted

Chris Hoke

The chapters of this book are not short, but the that stories Hoke shares give vivid testimony to the power of the gospel. Hoke is a self-described gang pastor and jail chaplain.

Unexpected Gifts

Christopher Heuertz

Heuertz reflects on community, hospitality, and compassion through stories from his own global experiences living in community.

Fulfilled 

Kirk Byron Jones

Jones encourages Christian leaders to practice stillness, awareness, and playfulness in this delightful little book. Jones is a Baptist minister and Seminary professor.

There are also a number of ministries that offer daily devotional reflections for seasons of the church year, usually Advent or Lent.

Finally, blog posts by Sandra Maria Van Opstal,  Christena Cleveland, Daniel Jose Camacho, Chanequa Walker-Barnes and Austin Channing Brown, all of whom write theologically acute and challenging pieces, can also be used for deep spiritual reflection when paired with Scripture.

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You can find a few more at www.edwinwalhout.com; on the book of Revelation, or the Psalms, or a few theological topics.

Thanks, Shannon, for sharing some resources; of the ones I recognize they will be a blessing to those who pursue them.

What did disappoint me was the very top recommendation - Richard Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation.  Based on just the last week's worth of postings it can easily be demonstrated how far away he is from the faith "once for all delivered to the saints."  The presumption shown by his disdain for historical Christianity is saddening; more pretentious than charitable.  Does he really think he/CAC leads a "New Reformation"?!  The OSJ can do better than that.

PS  If anyone wants an analysis of the last week's "worth" of postings, send me an email:     wagenlma@aol.com

 

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lou. I have a couple of thoughts in response. First, the OSJ was not recommending these devotionals, I was. Second, Rohr's devotionals, as many of the others, are challenging. I do not agree with everything that all of these writers put out, particularly as a Reformed pastor. This is why I listed the denominational affiliation of the devotional writers. Personally, Rohr's penchant for the mystical compels me as a Reformed Christian, which I why I recommended him.

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