Today, Pastor Gordon Carpenter shares some of his favorite resources for the season of Lent. Officially, Lent started last Wednesday, but there is still plenty of time to work through one of the resources below!
There are so many devotionals written for Lent that it’s hard to choose one. I have used many of them over the last 30 years, and I keep returning to those listed here because of the depth, and ease, of their writing. I highly recommend any of these, which are all available at Hearts & Minds Bookstore.
Small Surrenders: A Lenten Journey by Emilie Griffin
Paraclete Press, 2007
Using ancient and modern texts as inspirations for her reflections, Emilie Griffin guides us into a deeper understanding of ourselves and God. She recognizes that Lent is a time of letting go, so she walks us through Lent by using a series of small surrenders that will draw us closer to Jesus.
40 Days Living the Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight
Paraclete Press, 2008
We tend to think of Lent as a time of sorrow, repentance, and grief, and that is one of its core ideas. This book was not written specifically for Lent, but if Lent has its proper impact, it will form us spiritually —and to be formed spiritually is to grow in love of God and love of others. McKnight suggests using his book during Lent as a time to reflect on, pray about, and practice loving God and loving others—with a view to God’s love in the cross and resurrection.
This book has 40 short studies on the Jesus Creed—to love God and love others. It begins with Jesus and then develops how the rest of the New Testament took Jesus’ fundamental idea, reapplied it, reused it, and saw it as the center of how a follower of Jesus is to live.
Show Me the Way: Readings for Each Day of Lent by Henri Nouwen
Crossroad Publishing Co., 1992
Henri Nouwen was a master of writing on spiritual formation. In Show Me the Way, he invites readers to join him on a 40-day Lenten path as fellow pilgrims, from the solemn beginning of Ash Wednesday to the joyous climax of Easter. He does this by excerpting some of his best writings from previous books that speak directly to the heart and to this season of reflection and prayer.
Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
Orbis Books (originally published by Plough Publishing House), 2003
This book offers meditations for Lent from a wide spectrum of classic writers, such as Martin Luther and John Donne, along with 20th-century theologians, like C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and Dorothy Day, to contemporary writers, including Philip Yancey, John Updike, Frederick Buechner, Madeleine L’Engle, Henri Nouwen, and Brennan Manning. Containing six separate sections (Invitation, Temptation, Passion, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and New Life), it guides readers through the essential elements of spiritual preparation for Lent and Easter.
Journey to the Cross by Paul David Tripp
This is the book I’m using this year and, so far, I have been very pleased with it. This 40-day Lenten devotional focuses on the suffering and sacrifice of Jesus. Each short reading is focused on helping us encounter Christ more fully and following him more faithfully. At the end of each devotional reading are thoughtful reflection questions to help the reader take the study deeper.