Early in my Christian life, my Bible, a devotional book, and my prayer journal were all I brought to my quiet times with the Lord. I leaned heavily on devotionals because I felt I needed the guidance and insights they provided.
A devotional is a book with passages from the Bible accompanied by short interpretations or thought-provoking questions and applications. Often devotionals are divided into the days of the year—a daily devotional.
As I grew in my relationship with God, I began to study the Bible. Devotionals fell to the wayside and Bible study guides took their place. I learned how to read, understand, and apply passages I read on my own. But Bible study takes uninterrupted time and concentration, and there are seasons in life when time is anything but uninterrupted—parenting babies and young children, home schooling, experiencing major transitions, caring for sick family members, etc.
It was during those seasons I rediscovered the value of devotionals in my quiet times. I especially appreciate the ability to share a daily devotion with others. I read them to my children to begin each homeschool day. My husband and I have read them together. I’ve shared them in emails and on social media. They are an easy way to engage others with the words of God and create an environment ready for the gospel.
But not all devotionals are the same. When I look for a devotional book, I seek those which focus on scripture rather than personal stories. I want a devotional to point me to longer passages from the Bible—so I can study if I have the time. I also prefer devotionals with questions to stimulate deeper consideration.
Most daily devotionals include dates for each devotion. This may be helpful to some, but I usually miss a day here and there and then feel ‘behind.’ So, I prefer those without dates. (If there are dates, I’ve learned to simply read the devotion for the day—even if I’ve missed a few in-between.)
Currently, I’m reading through Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. If you’re in a season of change or simply want to add a devotional to your quiet time toolkit I’ve listed some below I highly recommend:
- For Personal Devotion—
Tripp, Paul David. New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional. Crossway Books, 2019.
Chambers, Oswald, and James Reimann. My Utmost for His Highest. Discovery House, 2018.
- For Couples—
Chapman, Gary D. The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional. Tyndale House Pub., 2009.
- For Kids—
W., Stott John R. The Birds, Our Teachers: Essays in Orni-Theology. Hendrickson Publishers, 2014.
Wolgemuth, Bobbie, et al. Hymns for a Kid’s Heart. Crossway Books, 2003.