About this time every year, I start looking for family Lent devotionals. And every year I think, Wow, I wish there were more of those. I can find all manner of Advent devotionals, written for readers of all ages, but Lent devotionals are scarce. In fact, looking back at the book reviews on this blog, I couldn’t find a single family devotional that began on Ash Wednesday and ended on Easter.
Imagine, then, my joy at discovering Meals With Jesus.
Ed Drew structures this seven-week devotional around the book of Luke, and follows Jesus through Luke’s account with short readings and activities. This is a versatile book, with reading plans for Lent or any other time of the year, and variations on the questions and games that make them fun for kids of any age. I love how practical and flexible this book is, but my favorite part is Drew’s vision for it:
“Christians are not primarily about an institution, a religion, our habit or a set of behaviors,” he writes in the introduction. “We are about Jesus Christ. As we sit with him at the dinner table, we see who he is: his decision-making, his compassion and his bravery. When we sit with him, we meet the man we spend so long talking about. As we look him square in the eye, we get the chance to make the biggest decisions of our lives. What do we think of him? Do we like him? Do we trust him? Will we dare to follow him?”
This idea of sitting with Jesus and getting to know him is at the heart of Meals With Jesus. It encourages us not just to talk to our kids about Jesus, but to give them the chance, through Scripture, to get to know him for themselves.
Disclosure: I did receive copies of this for review, but I was not obligated to review this book or compensated for my review in any way. I share this book with you because I love it, not because I was paid to do so.
We have one window in our living room—one window highly sought after by the cats, who get their best bird views there—and it’s in that window sill that I heap the books I’m currently reading. This is a terrible place for books—they fall when you bump them or when you put the blinds down (or when you lunge at a bird), and they block a small portion of coveted daylight. But it’s close to the armchair where I like to read, and so that is where the books stay.
And with Lent upon us, a handful of the books in that sill are Easter-related, which made me think of other Easter-related books you might like, which made me think that a post about Easter reading for you, dear grown-up reading this blog, might be well received. This list is a short one, but I’m sure you have other books worthy of joining its ranks. I would love to hear about them in the comments.
So, here it is: a list of devotionals for Lent! The first two are the ones I’m reading this year, followed by ones I’ve read (and loved) in the past.
This devotional isn’t marketed for Lent and I didn’t plan to read it for Lent, but I did start reading it and it struck me that it is, in fact, perfectly Lent-worthy. Each reading describes some new aspect the gospel—the beauty of it, how it transforms our lives—in Fitzpatrick’s warm, grace-filled voice. Familiarity may tempt us to grow deaf to the melody of the gospel, but Fitzpatrick reminds us that the Lord plays endless variations upon it in our lives, and that that melody will never grow repetitive to those who pay attention. Comforts From the Cross highlights some of those variations, and the result is stunning.
The Valley of Vision is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions written by a plethora of authors whose names occasionally end with “Spurgeon,” “Edwards,” or “Bunyan.” You can see by the condition of the cover that this is an oft-frequented book at our house (or at least one that got knocked off my nightstand and lost under the bed for a while), and I’m reading it this Lent with Joe Thorn’s guide for praying through The Valley of Vision.
I’m two weeks in and I love it already: these little breaks for prayer reorient my heart every few hours, and I need that. (It’s true that I pray on the stairwell, often with one or two daughters in my lap, poking my face and asking me what I’m doing, but praying in the midst of that is perfect training for praying through the greater storms of life. Right?)
You thought there was just the one reason, didn’t you? Nope. In fifty short chapters, John Piper lays out fifty illuminating reasons why Jesus suffered and died for us. What this is, really, is fifty reasons to praise God for his redemption!
Note: Piper’s book The Passion of Christ is actually the same material repackaged under a new title. How do I know? Because I own them both and planned to review them each separately here—until I read the table of contents. But hey, now we know they’re both good books!
I read this book during Lent last year, and it was beautiful. Nancy Guthrie has curated a collection of twenty-five readings from authors that span church history. You’ll find Augustine here alongside J.I. Packer, John Calvin next to Francis Schaeffer. This isn’t technically a devotional but an anthology, one that’s easy to pick up and read any time of the day. (Guthrie’s Advent anthology Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus is lovely, too.)
This is one of my favorite books, and again, it’s not one specifically written for Lent. But Timothy Keller’s study of Jesus’s life through the book of Mark places Jesus’ life within the greater framework of God’s redemptive story. This is not a difficult read, but it’s a deep one that will give you much to ponder.
Note: This book has been republished under the title Jesus the King, so don’t let that throw you off the scent. Even if you don’t read it during Lent, it’s excellent reading any time of the year.
Hi, I'm Théa! I review classic literature, poetry, nonfiction, fantasy, picture books—children's books luminous with grace and beauty. These are books our family loved and that I think you'll love too. Thanks for stopping by!
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