Book Recommendations: Devotional Reading
About once or twice a year, I ask for feedback from friends on Facebook for their book recommendations for my Bible study time. I love year-long devotional books, as well as shorter studies that I do as supplemental reading. And I’ve been tremendously blessed with FANTASTIC recommendations. I feel like my Bible study tribe really gets what I’m looking for, because I’ve been thrilled over the past few years with the suggestions. This year I opted for two of their recommendations, but today I’m reviewing one of them: Kurt Bjorkland’s “Prayers for Today.”
I should mention right up front that I’m not a great prayer warrior, although I’d like to be. Sadly, I get distracted easily, and keep making notes of things I need to do, people I need to call, or worse--I start cleaning up stuff in my house! Whoops - there goes my prayer time! I’ve always found it easier to read, and even reflect on God’s Word, than to pray, but I believe a solid relationship with God depends on both His Word and my worship. I also believe that practice makes progress.
This 365-day book rotates through various types of prayers (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, petition, affirmation, etc.) and develops the theme of the day through Scripture, various prayers from literature, then reflection questions to pray through. I really enjoy the literary prayers, from lyrics of hymns to prayers written by ancient monks and priests throughout history from all over the world. These lyric prayers are beautiful and inspiring. The subtitle of this book, “a yearlong journey of devotional prayer,” is an apt description since these daily collections are very personal and meditative. Each day is one page, so it’s not overwhelming--it’s like a bite-size portion, although time flies by while I’m praying through the reflection questions.
I spent a lot of time in the prayer room of OnTheRedBox, and the worship style there follows a “guided prayer” approach - we pray through a specific Scripture passage, with a prayer leader helping us flesh out the Word of God. I’ve found that having a guide to lead through prayer helps keep focus, helps explore the passage, and helps apply the meaning specifically to one’s own situation. This book is basically like having a prayer leader to help you pray. If you (like me) need that outside help, this is a great book to guide you.