The Way of a Pilgrim

The protagonist discovers the Jesus Prayer on his quest across 19th-century Russia to learn to pray continually. He shows us a way of praying that saturates our lives without taking time away from our routine activities.

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Hannah Coulter
Wendell Berry

This book celebrates the "old ways" of living, in which God, family, community, and "place" are central. You leave it more likely to find contentment in the ordinary and to honor the relationships you've been given.

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The Pilgrim's Progress
John Bunyan

You cannot help but see yourself in the struggles and victories of Christian, the main character. Bunyan understood the lure of false gospels such as legalism, and provided a helpful mirror in which to see our own struggles.

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In This House of Brede
Rumer Godden

This is a masterfully written story of a 40-something woman with a successful government career who enters an English Benedictine monastery. It sounds a call to holiness that reminds us that we all have tools for spiritual growth at our disposal.

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The Chosen
Chaim Potok

This is a compelling story of friendship between two deeply devout Jewish young men—one "liberal" and one "conservative"—that helps us see what it means to have spiritual integrity and yet compassionately and respectfully engage with friends of differing faiths.

James Wilhoit is professor of Christian Education at Wheaton College.

Related Elsewhere:

Previous Top 5 lists have featured managing your money, devotionals, how character shapes belief, food, Atheism, China, Presidents, World Christianity, Ancient-Future Faith, the Civil Rights Era, Social Justice, Church History, Popular Culture, the Civil War, Apologetics, Atheism, and Sex.

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