The truth be told, I’ve never made it through a whole devotional book. It’s not that I’m against devotionals, but they generally just aren’t my style. I prefer a Bible reading plan at my own pace–where I can really dig into passages each day and not feel like I’m going through the motions in my devotional reading.
Why then share a list of helpful devotionals? Enough people have asked me that I thought it would be helpful. What I share below is a wide sweep of devotionals that are faithful to Scripture and helpful for your spiritual life (all are for both men and women and/or the family). Whenever available, I share links to free online versions. Most of the descriptions are from Amazon, but a few times I share my thoughts. If you have a helpful devotional that meets that criteria, feel free to share in the comments.
(Also, the links are affiliate links. If you make a purchase, a small percentage of the sale goes to me at no extra cost to you. This helps me cover blog expenses. Thanks!)
20 Recommended Daily Devotionals
I have used this devotional and reading plan for two years along with the men I meet with each week. As you would expect from a world-class scholar in biblical theology, Carson explains and applies one of the four passages of the reading plan and gives readers a good grasp on the Bible’s overall story. Even though the rest of this list (4-20) is not in any particular order, this is my choice for #1.
As with its companion volume, For the Love of God-Volume 2, this devotional contains a systematic 365-day plan, based on the M’Cheyne Bible-reading schedule, that will in the course of a year guide you through the New Testament and Psalms twice and the rest of the Old Testament once.
In an effort to help preserve biblical thinking and living, D. A. Carson has also written thought-provoking comments and reflections regarding each day’s scriptural passages. And, most uniquely, he offers you perspective that places each reading into the larger framework of history and God’s eternal plan to deepen your understanding of his sovereignty-and the unity and power of his Word.
This classic book of prayers and devotions is a must-have. The rich and poetic words of this work warm up my heart in prayer and focus my eyes on our amazing God. You won’t be disappointed.
The strength of Puritan character and life lay in prayer and meditation. In this practice the spirit of prayer was regarded as of first importance and the best form of prayer, for living prayer is the characteristic of genuine spirituality. Yet prayer is also vocal and may therefore on occasions be written. Consequently in the Puritan tradition there are many written prayers and meditations which constitute an important corpus of inspiring devotional literature. Too often ex tempore prayer lacks variety, order and definiteness. The reason for this lies partly in a neglect of due preparation. It is here that the care and scriptural thoroughness which others found necessary in their approach to God may be of help. This book has been prepared not to ‘supply’ prayers but to prompt and encourage the Christian as he treads the path on which others have gone before.
If there is any book on this list I am unashamedly biased towards, it is this book. I grew up under Colin Smith’s teaching (and attend his church) and worked at Unlocking the Bible alongside Tim Augustyn during my seminary days. Also highly recommended: Unlocking the Bible Story 4 Volume Set and The LifeKeys Daily Bible Devotional Booklet.
Have you ever wondered how the Bible works together as a whole? Or how events from the New Testament were foreseen in the Old Testament? Pastor Colin Smith, who hosts the popular national radio program Unlocking the Bible, is the perfect guide to answering these questions and to highlighting the significant events and circumstances of the Bible.
Pastor Smith, while walking you through the Bible, will help you uncover deep truths of the Bible story. He will assist you in understanding the events, their significance and time frame, and how God weaves together the entire story. Each day’s devotion offers a selection from Scripture, an insightful teaching devotional, and an additional Scriptural reference for further study.
By the time you are finished, you will see how the major stories, conditions, and actions in the Bible can and do relate to your everyday life.
Mornings can be tough. Sometimes, a hearty breakfast and strong cup of coffee just aren’t enough. Offering more than a rush of caffeine, best-selling author Paul David Tripp wants to energize you with the most potent encouragement imaginable: the gospel.
Forget “behavior modification” or feel-good aphorisms. Tripp knows that what we really need is an encounter with the living God. Then we’ll be prepared to trust in God’s goodness, rely on his grace, and live for his glory each and every day.
Through the ages, the church year has been ordered according to God’s story found in the Bible. With every new season, believers have immersed themselves in the Scriptures, growing closer to God through his Word. In Through the Bible, Through the Year, beloved pastor John Stott takes readers through the whole biblical story, one day at a time. Each of the 365 devotions is based on a key Scripture passage and includes biblical passages for further reading. From September until Christmas, readers experience the Old Testament story from the creation until the coming of Christ. From January through April, they explore the story of Jesus in the Gospels. And from May through August they relive the story of Acts through Revelation, including God’s power for living now and his pledge of our final inheritance when Christ returns. With each reading, readers will grow closer to God and grow in their understanding of his Word.
What happened on this date in church history? From ancient Rome to the twenty-first century, from peasants to presidents, from missionaries to martyrs, this book shows how God does extraordinary things through ordinary people every day of the year. Each story appears on the day and month that it occurred and includes questions for reflection and a related Scripture verse.
Richard Rushing has compiled this book of daily devotional readings from his favourite Puritan authors because of the great help he has gained from their Works. ‘How thrilling it has been for me to read the Puritans on the glory and attributes of God, divine providence, fellowship with God, holiness of life and the mortification of indwelling sin, heavenly mindedness, prayer, evangelistic zeal, and trust in the Lord during times of affliction. At every turn these truths are eloquently taught, faithfully applied, and kindly offered as the subject of sweet spiritual meditaion.’ This book is sent forth with the prayer that it will open a door to the vast stores of treasure to be found in the writings of the Puritans and that it will stimulate further exploration of this rich spiritual inheritance.
A wealth of Biblical meditations from Spurgeon with applications that are relevant for contemporary Christians. Spurgeon’s characteristically pithy comments hit home with a wit and elegance rarely found in other writing. Christians young and old will find his words challenging and stimulating.
How would life be different if you could think, see, and do all things in light of the person and work of Jesus? With this inspiring collection of 365 Scripture-centered prayers, pastor Scotty Smith helps you pray the Scriptures through the lens of the gospel, mining the great resources of God’s grace and applying them in every season of your life. No posing. No pretending. Just an honest, no-spin relationship with a God who claims you as his own.
Each day includes a Scripture reference and an inspirational original prayer, born from moments of great faith and times of crisis. Like a modern-day book of Psalms, Everyday Prayers is a pathway to growing in grace that you will want to explore year after year.
In a barren wilderness, L. B. Cowman long ago discovered a fountain that sustained her, and she shared it with the world, Streams in the Desert ® — her collection of prayerful meditations, Christian writings, and God’s written promises–has become one of the most dearly loved, best-selling devotionals of all time since its first publication in 1925. Filled with insight into the richness of God’s provision and the purpose of His plan, this enduring classic has encouraged and inspired generations of Christians. I heard the flow of hidden springs; before me palms rose green and fair; The birds were singing; all the air was filled and stirred with angels’ wings.
Turn to the pages of My Utmost for His Highest to deepen your love and understanding of God. Oswald Chambers was gifted with extracting the essence of biblical principles and condensing them into potent, thought-provoking, and life-changing devotions. They don’t take a lot of time to read, but they can infuse you with the timeless truths of the Bible. Compiled from lectures given at the Bible Training College in London, to nightly talks in an Egyptian YMCA during World War I, My Utmost for His Highest will lend a powerful spiritual dimension to your walk with God.
Change that goes deeper than the surface of our lives happens over the long haul as we daily remember and connect the truths of the gospel to our lives. Everyday we need to be reminded in different ways that Jesus, God’s own Son, came to this world to save us from sin, sorrow, and death. The promises of God, which are all yes in Jesus, change the way we view ourselves, our circumstances, and other people. This devotional gives a daily reminder of these life-changing truths.
An attractive gift book of 100 joyful meditations on the nature of heaven, our hearts’ true home. We all think about heaven–or at least we wonder what will happen to us after we die. For the Christian, these should be comforting, exciting thoughts. In this beautiful devotional gift book, Joni Eareckson Tada has chosen short excerpts from her book, Heaven, and arranged them around common topics such as: Where is heaven and what is it like? What will we do in heaven? Each inspiring and faith-filled meditation is paired with a verse of scripture and a heart-felt prayer.
Do you want your daily devotional to have more substance? Then you will appreciate this one-year devotional from Navigator author Jerry Bridges. Each entry has been carefully selected from his best writings, connecting with you on a deeper level and encouraging personal discovery. This quick daily read is full of inspiration, commitment, and transformation for men and women to grow in spiritual maturity.
Long Story Short will help busy parents share with their children how every story in the Old Testament points forward to God s story of salvation through Jesus Christ. You won t find a more important focus for a family devotional than a daily highlighting of the gospel of grace. Clever stories and good moral lessons may entertain and even help children, but the gospel will transform children. The gospel is deep enough to keep the oldest and wisest parents learning and growing all their lives, yet simple enough to transforsm the heart of the first grader who has just begun to read. Ten minutes a day, five days a week is enough time to pass on the most valuable treasure the world has ever known. Long Story Short is a family devotional program designed to explain God s plan of salvation through the Old Testament and is suitable for children from preschool through high school.
You are invited to fully experience the power of drawing near to Christ through prayer. These inspiring and practical devotions, gathered from Andrew Murray’s most beloved books, will help focus your heart and mind on the vital aspects of an effective prayer life. Topics include:
Praying in Harmony With God / Victory Over Prayerlessness / Living a Devotional Life / The All-Prevailing Prayer–and much more.
“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” Matthew 4:3-4. It’s time to stop gorging ourselves on bread and start living like Jesus.
In this daily devotional by highly acclaimed author John MacArthur, your hungry heart will be focused on God and His Word. With insights on the life of Jesus, thoughts to ponder, and wisdom gleaned from years of careful study, this devotional will feed your daily walk.
Walking with God Day by Day offers brief daily devotionals that engage the mind and the heart. You will not just find spiritual nourishment in its pages; you will learn about God and the great themes of the Bible. Robert Backhouse has compiled excerpts from choice passages in the writings of Dr. Lloyd-Jones according to monthly themes. By reading this devotional, you will grow in your understanding of God and learn to apply the truth of His Word day by day.
Anyone who has suffered knows that there is no such thing as “getting a grip on oneself” or “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps. The only bootstrap in the Christian life is the Cross,” says Mason. “Sometimes laying hold of the cross can be comforting, but other times it is like picking up a snake.” Job knew this firsthand. From him we learn that there are no easy answers to suffering. That the mark of true faith is not happiness, but rather, having one’s deepest passions be engaged by the enormity of God. And through Job we learn the secret of the gospel: that “mercy is the permission to be human.” The Lord never gave Job an explanation for all he had been through. His only answer was Himself. But as Job discovered, that was enough.
The Gospel According to Job sensitively brings the reader to this realization, using a devotional commentary format that reminds them that it’s all right to doubt, to be confused, to wonder–in short, to be completely human. But what will heal us and help us endure is a direct, transforming encounter with the living God.
We need good preaching—preaching that challenges us by God’s Word and brings the comfort that comes from God’s promises. Yet many of us rely solely on others to preach to us and are not benefitting from the kind of preaching that should be most consistent and personal—preaching to ourselves.
Note to Self is a practical introduction to this daily discipline. Pastor Joe Thorn delivers fifty brief, devotional chapters that model preaching the gospel to ourselves and its practical implications. Readers will be challenged by the book’s direct, personal exhortations to apply the law and the gospel to their own lives.
Also worth mentioning:
What would you add?