Suggested Devotional Material
During my time in seminary I had the chance to work with many devotional materials, and it is my pleasure to provide a short list of some of them with attached web links. Every devotional is different and different people will find some sites and books more meaningful to them than others. If you have been looking for a daily or weekly devotion to use in your own prayer life, I encourage you to peruse the ones provided below, and see if one of these offers something meaningful for you and your walk.
May God bless you this day and all your days,
For ease of use, each site will be followed with a brief synopsis and ideas for target audience.
Wartburg Theological Seminary devotional by Norma Cook Everist-
A very nice devotional put together by one of Wartburg’s own. This devotional is well laid out and easy to follow: it has a scripture verse, asks some questions of the text and reader, and a finishes neatly with a prayer. This could be a nice devotional for individuals and groups with its easy to use style.
This devotional has many different authors, drawing largely on previous Luther grads. It has proved valuable as a source for stories and ideas. The primary audience I believe is other pastors although it can offer something to any reader. The devotions are usually very easy to read and are followed by the bible passages from which they draw.
My Utmost for His Highest-
This is a nice site with lots of easy access options: rss feeds, facebook, twitter, and email. It offers a selection of scripture and then shares some brief discussion and reflection. This site doesn’t offer specific questions to ask of the text or a prayer to follow, but the readings are quite good and the options make it easy to access. This would potentially be good for opening devotions at group bible study or for standalone individual study.
Streams in the Desert-
This offering is a nice change of pace from many devotionals. This site offers quotes and poems as well as some scripture to ponder. It can be received through email if desired. The quotes and poems are a nice alternative to most devotional materials and give the reader a chance to engage theology in a different way than strictly academic. Streams in the Desert is probably most suited for individuals, especially those seeking a more creative style of devotion.
Our Daily Journey-
This site not only gives a reading to go with the devotion but also a second connected reading, and then asks some key questions relating the reading to everyday life. This site offers the material through a lot of different media options: feeds, Facebook, Twitter, mobile phones, and email. This has been one of the more enjoyable sites that I have used. The extra readings and the questions make this very useable for bible study groups or meetings for opening devotions. This could very easy be used for individual devotions as well.
Strength for the Journey-
This is a well laid out site where there is a nice reading, an audio reading of the devotion if desired, and questions following to help tie the message into our lives today. This site also offers video devotions, podcasts, newsletters, internet feeds, and weekly devotions as well. The insights in the devotion are largely the reflections by the author Joe Stowell, giving it all a very familiar feel. The easy reading and comfortable style make this devotion a nice alternative to some more technical sites. This site might be a bit light on theology or too familiar for some, but I think it will be a nice option for many individuals.
In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley-
This devotional includes a scripture passage and some reflections on the text. It also asks some questions of the reader; this is a nice way to be invited into discussion with the text. The writing is ease to read and the site offers the materials through email for ease of use. This devotion could be good for individual use, or the questions could easily be used in a small group discussion style setting.
Day by Day with Charles Swindoll-
This is a nice site and pretty uncomplicated. The material is fairly easy to digest and is usually pretty focused on the scripture reading for the day. They often work through extended sections of scripture with short snippets each day and the reading is pretty interesting. There are no extra readings, prayers, or questions. This is probably good for individual use or for concurrent bible study.
This is one devotional that has a variety of contributors, but it is not available every day. This site offers a short scripture reading, a story, ideas on how the message intersects with daily life, and some suggestions for further reading. I’ve found the stories here are often quite enjoyable, and the intersections are a nice touch too. This site offers a newsletter, podcast, and has a link to an audio version. This could be good for individual or small group use, and some of the stories are quite good and could be sermon material.
Daily Devotional from Upper Room-
This site offers a multi-authored effort. The site is friendly and easy to use. If one were to miss a day, the archives are easily available. The devotion usually includes a text, short story, thought for the day, and a prayer. Adding to this sites usability is that it is available to smart phones, email, and through regular mail. This devotional is easy to use and read, and would be good for small groups or individuals.
Valley of Vision-
This definitely has a different feel from the rest, its poetic style was a very nice change of pace. In the midst of devotions that perhaps tell us what a piece of scripture means or share a positive story, Valley of Vision gives the artful piece of the soul a window through which to look out upon the day. Often the poems in the devotional are part thanksgiving and part prayerful petition, and though they may not reference a specific piece of scripture they do work to give God glory. This work would be perhaps best suited for individual or small group use.
Faith Alone based on the writings of Martin Luther-
I have found Luther always to be fascinating reading and this book does not leave one wanting. Luther, like Lewis to follow, uses words to paint pictures which stir the mind. This devotional would be especially good for pastors as in it Luther delves deeply into scripture, faith, and wrestles with hard questions.
A Year with C.S. Lewis-
This book is based on excerpts of Lewis’s writings for each day. The writings are deep and insightful. They drive the reader to examine self and all around, no matter what time of day or night. Jack invites us more deeply to understand both ourselves and God who loves us. These readings could work well alone or in a group, but they are not light or for the faint of heart.