A pastor wrote to me asking for help with a church member who is well read and very cerebral, but who needs a little help shaping his heart and soul. He asked me for some books he could recommend, so I put together the following list in no particular order.
It’s a mix of classics and contemporary books, with the filter of helping an earnest believer evaluate the state of their heart and soul—going beyond doctrine to practice and transformation.
This isn’t my normal kind of blog, but the truth is, the more we shape our hearts to reflect the love and presence of Jesus Christ, the more every one of our relationships will benefit. So here’s the list. Feel free to add some suggestions of your own in the comments.
As always with such lists, there will be points of doctrine reflected in a few books with which I disagree; remember, this isn’t a list to help someone understand basic doctrine. It’s focused on spiritual transformation and draws from some traditions with whom I have some doctrinal disagreements. I know I’ve left several good ones out, but these are the ones that came to mind:
Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God
A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God
Gary Thomas, Holy Available
Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue
Andrew Murray, Humility
Phillip Yancey, What’s So Amazing About Grace?
Gordon Smith, On the Way: A Guide to Christian Spirituality
R. Somerset Ward, To Jerusalem: Devotional Studies in Mystical Religion
Gerrit Scott Dawson, Jesus Ascended: The Meaning of Christ’s Continuing Incarnation
Lorenzo Scupoli, Spiritual Combat
N.T. Wright, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters
St. Theophan the Recluse, The Path of Salvation: A Manual of Spiritual Transformation
Bob Sorge, Secrets of the Secret Place
John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection
Gordon Smith, Called to Be Saints: An Invitation to Christian Maturity
Sherry Harney, Praying with Eyes Wide Open.
Thomas Cogswell Upham, Principles of the Interior or Hidden Life
Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines
Louis of Granada, The Sinner’s Guide
John Ortberg, Soul Keeping
Les Parrott, Love Like That
Kevin Harney, Seismic Shifts: The Little Changes That Make a Big Difference in Your Life
Kay Warren, Dangerous Surrender