Lent is almost here, and as usual, I’m wondering how to observe it this year. (I do have one idea of something to give up, something which would require a radical change to my lifestyle, and I’m still trying to decide if I have the mettle to do it. More later.) But one thing that I know I’ll be adding and not subtracting this year is … surprise, surprise … reading.
Specifically, I’ve resolved to do more spiritual reading during the season of Lent — a little bit every day, even if it’s only a page or so — and I’ve got some great-looking books sitting on my prayer desk, just waiting.
Writing to God: 40 Days of Praying with my Pen by Rachel G. Hackenberg is a book that is perfect for anyone who loves to process with her pen. Hackenberg offers short original prayers, a Scripture passage, and a writing prompt for every day, with lots of lovely blank white space to pen your own thoughts. Scott gave it to me for my birthday, and even though I had thought I’d wait until Ash Wednesday to start, I’ve already begun scribbling. I love how the book gets me cracking open the Bible and I love being able to have such a concrete routine as part of my writing-and-prayer life.
Welcome Risen Jesus: Lent and Easter Reflections for Families is the brand-new title by my blogging friend Sarah Reinhard. As with her Advent book, it’s a helpful collection of reflections, prayers, and actions to help families engage in Lent and Easter in a meaningful way. Each day has a short meditation, plus a prayer and a concrete action to perform, and each day has an invitation to fast from something specific (let others go first today; instead of making a mess, clean one up instead; don’t watch any TV today). Though these invitations are geared towards kids, frankly, I myself could benefit from her suggestions. Overall, the genius of this little book is that it makes Lenten observances manageable, and really helps kids live the meaning of the season. The charming design of the book is also appealing, and it’s a marvelous gift for the kids in your life.
I’ve just started reading A Friendship Like No Other: Experiencing God’s Amazing Embrace by William A. Barry, S.J., and though it’s not strictly a book for Lent, it goes right to the heart of some of the questions I have about God. I’ve read Father Barry’s work before and loved it, because he has such an encouraging way about him. The premise of the book is that God desires our friendship — which immediately has me wondering things like, “Why does God want to be friends with me? What could I possibly bring to the table?” It feels kind of having a super-rich friend and thinking that there’s no point in giving this friend anything for her birthday, because she already has it all, right? Though I’m not yet very far into the book, I can tell that these questions are going to be answered … and much much more.
What about you? Are there any spiritual books that you are planning to read this Lenten season? I’d love to get some more ideas, so please share below!