Favorite Fire-Starters

The Christian life is a life of love. When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus answered that it was most important that “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37).

How do we go about doing this? How do we love God with the whole of our being? One major way we do this is in our devotional life. To love God we must seek to engage with God with our hearts daily. This means utilizing “the means of grace”, which are primarily prayer and Bible study.

Sounds simple enough. Pray more. Read your Bible more. But, as anyone who has ever tried to do just that knows, this is easier said than done. Despite all that God has done for us in creating us, sustaining us, loving us, and saving us in His son, our hearts are still cold, lazy, and constantly running away from Him.

Because this is true, it is good to utilize tools that will help kindle our affections toward God. I found some tools more helpful for myself than others. In this post I want to share three of my all-time favorite fire-starters. These tools help fan the flames of affection for the Lord day-by-day.

1. ESV Journaling Bible

Anytime we talk about devotional tools, we have to begin with the Bible. We can’t grow in our faith apart from regularly and consistently exposing ourselves to God’s Word. The ESV is my go to translation of the Bible.  It is both faithful and readable. I am partial to a word-for-word translation as opposed to a thought-for-thought translation, and the ESV is a good choice for that.

The ESV Journaling Bible is nice because it prompts you to engage with the text.  Having lots of open space to write notes, thoughts, and cross-references really encourages you to not just read the text but also to think and meditate on it. There is a big difference between the two.

2. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions0851512283m

There have been many times I have gone to prayer feeling very cold. My heart is cold. My mind is cold. This book is one of the surest ways to light a devotional inside of you.

As it states in the title, this book is a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. These prayers are real, powerful, beautiful, and theological. I have shared some before, and I can’t recommend this collection enough. Reading through one prayer often does the job to get you in the right frame to approach God with a reverent spirit.

3. Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself9781433522062m

This little book surprised me. Written by Joe Thorn, this small book contains over fifty short, but weighty gospel-centered meditations. The meditations are based on rightly applying both the law and gospel to our hearts. This was one of my favorite books last year, and it is both practical and powerful.

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