12 Best Books For Lent That Will Challenge You

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Best Books for Lent: Easter Books for adults

What is Lent? As a Southern Baptist from before I was born, I didn’t really get it. I mean, why do we celebrate it? Isn’t Lent season something the Catholic church does? But my current church home isn’t Baptist. And a very dear friend is a Methodist. So I’ve had more exposure to this in recent years. I’m finding that these denominational borders that have been placed on the Christian life often cause more trouble than they prevent!

And the more I’ve pressed into learning new things, the more I value many aspects of the Lent season. And of course, I had to come up with a solid list of books for the occasion, because that’s who I am. A Libraryan! (Easter Stories for Kids here!) And the bonus #13 is probably my all-time favorite.

Please note that this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I may make a small commission. I only recommend books and resources that I’ve enjoyed personally, or believe that you would like. You can read my full disclosure here. You will also find information on Scripture translations there.

What is Lent? White and Purple design

So What is Lent, Anyway?

Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. It is approximately 40 days leading up to Resurrection Sunday. I now think that it should be a common practice for all of Christianity. The benefits of this intentional time of drawing closer to God are worth the effort.

How & Why Do We Celebrate Lent?

Why do we celebrate it? Because we’re grateful for what Jesus Christ did, choosing not to use his Godhood to his own personal advantage by escaping the cross (Read “Make Me Like Jesus” below, to really appreciate this!). Because we’re thankful for everything he did and experienced and offers to us today.

How do we celebrate it, even as a member of a non-liturgical evangelical Christian church?

By spending extra time each day reflecting on things like Jesus’ ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection. The personal gift he gives freely to anyone who asks. And what we have done with that gift, or will do now that we have received it? Because Ephesians 2:8-9 do not cancel out James 2:14-26 (esp vs 17). Both passages are equally true. Salvation is a free gift, and, having received it, good works should flow.

Now, if you’re going to have time for that extra reflection, as well as to give added meaning, then it’s common to give something up. To fast from something. We do that in order to have more time to focus on our relationship with God.

In A Beginners Guide to Fast and Pray, (below) Tiffany helps us understand a ton of helpful things about fasting, including what to expect, how to prepare, and a list of things we could fast from, such as:

  • Complete Fast (Food and water)
  • Partial Fast (Certain foods)
  • Daniel Fast (Meat, Bread, Wine, Lotion)
  • Social Media
  • Phone, etc

Another aspect of the Lenten season is giving generously, out of gratitude to God for all he has done, and who he is. This could be anything from strategic random acts of kindness, like the ones in this Joyful Living Toolbox, or following this amazing UK devotional stewardship adventure! It could also mean sponsoring a child, or your local (listener-supported) Christian music station, or supporting one of your church members going on a mission trip…

Best Books for Lent 2024

Lent 2024 begins on February 14th, running from Ash Wednesday through Easter. There are many great Easter stories for adults, and I never tire of reading them. So here we are, with my favorite Easter books for adults, that will help us prepare our hearts.

Books for Lent: Nonfiction: White and Purple design

Best Nonfiction Books for Spiritual Growth

Nonfiction book choices are going to be the books that will help us draw near to God in measurable ways. These won’t necessarily be Resurrection stories, but they will be full of the ‘reason for the season!’

A Beginner’s Guide to Fast and Pray

In A Beginner’s Guide to Fast and Pray: Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Next Level (mentioned above), Tiffany Montgomery teaches you all the basics and practicalities of fasting and prayer as a united team. That makes this one of the best books for this season, teaching us how to fast well, and giving ideas on what to fast from. She also teaches through the before and after, which are key points of time. And this book is extremely affordable!

Experiencing God

I can’t recommend Experiencing God highly enough. This book has 26 chapters, or you could choose the 12-week Bible study workbook (DVDs Optional). If you want to know what it means to know God by experience, and better see his fingerprints in your daily life, please choose Experiencing God!

With tons of actual stories of average men and women (and teens) growing to know God and experiencing him moving in all sorts of situations, this book offers hope, and practical advice, without offering a step-by-step ‘formula’ that won’t work.

Why? Because the Holy Spirit isn’t a genie or a grandfather, he’s the best guide, because he knows God’s plans for you, and goes with you every step of the way! Jesus doesn’t give us a map, he IS our map.

Book: Kindle, Audible, Paperback, Independent Bookshop, ChristianBook

Workbook: Amazon, Independent Bookshop, ChristianBook

No Wonder They Call Him The Savior

In No Wonder They Call Him Savior, Max Lucado’s unique storytelling style shines in 33 short chapters. Not quite a one-a-day reading, but great for busy people who still want to participate in seasonal reading, this book, with its shorter readings, makes it possible!

By studying the Words, Witnesses, and Wisdom of the Cross, (and the parts that seem to make no sense, this powerful little book will definitely help you reflect on the most important things.

Kindle, Audible, Paperback, ChristianBook, Independent Bookshop

Make Me Like Jesus

I just finished another incredible book, one Michael Phillips, a favorite Historical Christian Fiction author wrote. Make Me Like Jesus: The Courage to Pray Dangerously. This one is not recommended for everyone. In the introduction, Michael goes to great lengths to specify just who should and shouldn’t read this book. Mature Christians not looking for quick blessings will find this book full of depth and insight.

It is a hard book to read, because it’s convicting and challenging, but it is also an easy read, because Mr Phillips is an excellent and engaging storyteller, and he pours himself out into this work on a whole new level.

He points out things like answered prayer doesn’t mean we were praying for God’s best, Jesus’ humanity was very real, and he can relate to our struggles because of his own, and Joy can be a state of being, not just a feeling. The specific prayers covered are:

  • Christlikeness: Make me like Jesus.
  • Childship: Father, What would you have me do?
  • Relinquishment: Not my will, but yours be done.
  • Death: My God, my God, Why???
  • Life: That they may be one as we are one.
  • Joy: That they might have my joy fulfilled in them.

Kindle, Paperback, Audible

I received a copy of this book from the author and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.

Praying the Promises of the Cross

You might also like this awesome guided prayer journal, on praying the promises of the Cross! Whether you choose the Free 40-day prayer challenge or the full Praying the Promises of the Cross kit – with instructions, weekly devotionals, and prayer journaling pages – this is an especially wonderful experience!

Praying the promises of the cross

Six Hours One Friday

This is one of the books that I’m reading this year. It has 19 chapters, and I’ve just started chapter one. Six hours isn’t much, it seems like, but those particular six hours one Friday about 2,000 years ago changed everything. I am very excited about this one.

Kindle, Audible, Paperback, Independent Bookshop, ChristianBook

The Women of Easter

I enjoyed Liz Curtis Higgs’ Women of Christmas so much, that I’m eager to dive into this one! We’ll get to spend time with 3 wonderful women named Mary. With 8 chapters and an included study guide (one of the coolest features of this author’s books), it should be great!

Kindle, Audible, Hardback, ChristianBook, Independent Bookshop

Books for Lent: fiction: White and Purple design
Books for Lent: Nonfiction: White and Purple design

Christian Fiction Books for Lent and Easter

Here are a few of my favorite Christian fiction New Testament stories that will definitely help you connect with the Good News, and encourage reflection and preparation in this season!

As I’ve said before, Biblical fiction must be read as fiction, though it often helps us to picture, and possibly understand truth clearer, when talking about stories of the resurrection.

Redemption at the Eleventh Hour

Redemption at the Eleventh Hour by Andrew Crown

This is one of the most amazing books, for sure. The imagination necessary to formulate a believable backstory for the thief on the cross who defended Jesus and asked to be remembered is amazing.

I think it’s very true to life. I found myself sympathizing with Dismas, who acted rashly in a few tight moments, which led to some unfortunate consequences, but also unimaginable opportunities.

While not every centurion is as disreputable as Bricius, many were. Leah and her friend were such a bright spot, in their compassion to the less fortunate. Barrabas was very believable too.

Potential triggers: There was a good bit of violence, drunkenness, and more than one near disaster in the involuntary intimacy department.

I received a review copy of this book from BookSirens and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.

Find it on Kindle (KU) or Paperback.

End of the Magi

End of the Magi by Patrick Carr is So powerful! A tale of the Magi, from before the nativity to after the Resurrection.

I was in tears in the first chapter, and totally invested. I would love to read a full story with That Daniel. I’ve enjoyed other Daniel retellings, but I believe this one is the most convicting.

That said, I connected with Myrad, and his journey became mine. I was not a passive observer.

You find yourself In the story. Desperately trying to prove yourself worthy despite your defects. Do the right thing regardless of other people’s opinions. Figure out who you can trust.

And follow the star and the prophecy.

Myrad is so very human. It is amazing how well he exemplifies the good qualities, and the weaknesses we can all relate to, 2000 years later.

As I said, I cried during the first chapter, and I had goosebumps/chills for the last hour of the book. (plenty of emotions in between, too).

I would recommend this book as an excellent Christmas story, but an equally amazing addition to any bookshelf.

Find it here:

Daughter of Cana

Okay, WOW! I can’t do this book justice, but I’ll try.

Tasmin’s frustration is so relatable. And the progression is so real! She’s frustrated with her brother and blames this Yeshua character who showed up uninvited and rocked her world, taking her twin brother Thomas away like a pied piper. Which colors her view of everything she hears about Yeshua over the next few years. I could be her, or definitely be friends with her.

Spending some time in Jude’s head was so cool! His protective instincts, getting a peek at what his heart might have been going through?

The whole story–shifted slightly off focus (but only slightly) from the main players–made this one of the best Biblical fiction retelling of Jesus’ days on earth that I’ve ever read, and definitely worth adding to your TBR list!

And the Q&A section at the back, to help discern the fiction from the fact, was both fun to read and helpful too.

I received a copy of this book from #NetGalley, and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.

Find it Here:

The Shepherd’s Wife

As usual, Angela Hunt does an amazing job. Getting to know Jesus’s sisters, or one imagining of them, anyway, was fascinating. They could have been anyone’s sisters, which is kind of the point. The characters were very real, the story was well-told, and well-researched. The weaving of humor and heartache made for an enjoyable read.

There was one spot, not too far in, where I actually got so mad I put the book down for a week. I’ve never done that before. But here’s the thing. I was angry at human pride, ego, and the preservation of one’s position no matter the cost. I was actually expecting what happened to happen, and when it did, it made me feel sick. Because I see similar situations in real life far too often. Maybe not exactly, but the sentiment, for sure.

I will treasure this book, because of the beauty of the narrative, the changed hearts, and the lessons on forgiveness. And yes, I’ll read it again. It’s probably an annual addition to my spring reading list!

I received an advance copy of this book from @NetGalley, and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.

Find It Here:

Friends of Jesus

Karen Kingsbury wrote a set of short stories about the friends of Jesus. Some of these are very unlikely friends at first glance. But, by exploring the before and after of each encounter, we get to see some beautiful possibilities and real hope.

Meeting this possible representation of Simon the Leper and Jarius was very powerful for me. Seeing the change of heart–Jarius’ especially was believable. Martha and Mary and Peter and John are always fun to encounter, and hearing the resurrection story from these unique perspectives was fun!

Find it here:

Stories of the Resurrection: What Will You Read This Year?

Well, there you have it. A dozen of my favorite Easter reads (though there are a few more over here and here).

And then, there’s bonus #13: The Barabbas Trilogy. The transformation of Barabbas is fantastic. This series follows Barabbas, before and after his encounter with Jesus, where Jesus took his place on the cross. The growth and transformation, and the true legacy of faith passed on both in the community and in the family are beautiful. It’s messy and complicated and makes you think of Nero with a bit more compassion, believe it or not. I HIGHLY recommend this story!

If you’re looking for something to read with the kids, I’ve also put together some of our favorite kids’ Easter books for you!

What are your favorite books for Lent? I’m sure there are several good ones I haven’t read yet.

Until Next Time, Love God, Love Books, Shine The Light!!

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