On either Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon every week, you’ll find me at a local coffee shop. First, I love coffee. Second, it’s a life-giving rhythm that I’ve created to have space and time to read. I encourage you to create your own rhythm around reading. Proverbs 3:13 (NCV) says: “Happy is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gets understanding.” Wisdom comes from many places, but one of the easiest ways to learn from the wisdom of others is to read often, preferably with a good cup of coffee or tea in your hands.
Not sure what to read? These books on grace, love and prayer will get you started!
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
Perhaps a book about shame seems like the furthest thing from grace, but at a time when I needed grace for myself more than ever, I found it in this book. Brown is a shame researcher who realized that she was also subject to her own findings. She says, “Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Find grace for yourself and others in this book that’s easy to read, yet takes some time to process.
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
This one’s a little cheesy, but bear with me. I read this book in my senior year of high school, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a vivid picture of grace and the way God redeems. It’s a historical fiction book that follows the storyline of the book of Hosea, but is set in 1850 California Gold Country. Rivers writes, “You are free. You just don’t know it yet.” I’ve never been one for romance books, but this one won my heart.
Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning
I spent a few days sitting in coffee houses and benches by the shore in Cape Town, South Africa, weeping over the words in this book. “Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. Accept that, and let it become the most important thing in your life.” If you want to learn to live out of your identity in Christ’s love, I suggest you grab every Brennan Manning book you can…and a jumbo box of tissues.
Love Does by Bob Goff
Bob Goff is a picture of child-like faith and love wrapped up in a middle-aged lawyer who holds client meetings at Disneyland. This is an easy and delightful read, full of Goff’s stories about the crazy things he does for love. He says, “Living a life fully engaged and full of whimsy and the kind of things that love does is something most people plan to do, but along the way they just kind of forget.” Don’t forget to pick up this book!
Hearing God by Dallas Willard
The subtitle of this book is “Developing a Conversational Relationship with God.” Isn’t that what we’re all looking for? While Willard can be a little over my head sometimes, his way of writing about talking to God is very relatable. You’ll find ways to pray through lectio divina (a way of reading God’s word), hearing God through others and even hearing God’s truth through the way you are uniquely created.
Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals compiled by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro
This is less a book to read and more a book to do. A new look at an old discipline, this version of the Book of Common Prayer calls us into a communal aspect of prayer. So often we focus on our individual lives and conversations with God. Focusing on liturgy that has served the church for centuries can open us up to the bigger picture of who God is and what his church body is supposed to look like.
Have you read any of these books? Which one do you want to get first?