books for lent

I always have a difficult time finding good devotional books for Lent (as well as Advent), so I thought I'd provide a few ideas here for those of you who struggle with the same thing, seeing as how Lent is just over a week away!

Last year, I found Meditations for Lent by James G. Kirk at the local library, and it turned out to be a nice devotional. Each day has its own theme, a Bible passage to look up, and a page or so of reflection followed by a short prayer. I was hoping more for something that followed the life--and, most importantly during this season, the death and resurrection--of Jesus, but it covered such a wide range of topics that that was something reserved for Holy Week.

Another library find, Thomas Merton's Seeds of Contemplation isn't actually a Lenten devotional, nor did I read it during Lent. However, I found it to be very inspirational and easy to read. Because it isn't exactly a devotional, it doesn't contain scriptural references, so this book would work better as a companion for meditation.

If, like me, you want a book that covers the life of Jesus for your Lenten studies, this is it. The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey is a fresh look at who Jesus is, setting the contextual foundations and moving chronologically through His life on earth. Again, not a devotional, but this is one of the few nonfiction works on my favorites list. Whether or not you read it for Lent, you should pick it up sometime.

So what am I reading for Lent this year? Instead of searching endlessly for the perfect Lenten devotional, I compiled a huge long list of both fiction and nonfiction Christian novels, then whittled them down until I had just a handful of works appropriate for the season. I may yet amend the list before next Wednesday, but this is my plan so far:

  1. The Cloister Walk by Kathleen Norris
  2. When Jesus Wept by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  3. What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey
  4. Iscariot: A Novel by Tosca Lee
What are you doing to help focus on the season of Lent this year? Do you have any books to recommend?

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