Readers ask me all the time what books I’d recommend for women who want to grow deeper with Jesus. But as an English major and lifetime reader, I have the hardest time picking just one or two. So below I’ve compiled my top 20 must-read books for Christian women today.
If 20 seems unmanageable, imagine reading just one book a year. One. Book. A Year. You can do that. And if you do, I guarantee the next 20 years will change your life, because each of these books has led me personally into a deeper understanding and love for Jesus, and they will do the same for you.
These are books I’ve read slowly, with pen and highlighter and journal at hand, so I could journal my way through the pages. They’ve become roadmaps for my soul, beckoning me into an ever-deepening relationship with my Savior. And they’ve earned a cherished place on my bookshelf as I’ve referenced them time and time again, and I know they’ll do the same for you.
But if you’re in a busy season of life and can’t sit down to read a book, try audiobooks. They’ve made reading so much easier! I can listen to while I’m washing dishes, folding laundry, running errands, or going for a walk. Being able to listen to deep, thoughtful books I wouldn’t have finished otherwise has been a game-changer. In fact, you can get two free audiobooks when you try Audible today.
Okay, here we go!
Satisfy My Thirsty Soul, by Linda Dillow
If I could only recommend one book for women who want a deeper relationship with God, it would be this one. This book met me in my place of deep need and desire, and God used it to draw me closer to Him and reveal His earnest desire for face-to-face intimacy in worship. In fact, Linda’s gentle encouragements to daily worship experiences led to me a spiritual revival in my own life, and this book spring-boarded me into writing my first traditionally-published book.
The Pursuit of God, by A. W. Tozer
With surprising clarity, Tozer writes about the general apathy that plagues much of the contemporary church, though he was writing almost 100 years ago. But the way he describes God’s heart desire that we seek Him and find our satisfaction in Him alone is enough to propel us deeper into God’s presence. I’ve listened to this on audiobook and read through the paperback, and every time there’s something new that drives me to my knees in worship and adoration.
Good News for Weary Women, by Elyse Fitzpatrick
This book was like a breath of fresh air when I felt like religious duties were suffocating me. I understood that the gospel was good news in theory, but when it came to my day-to-day life? I felt weighed down by all the expectations of what it meant to be a good Christian woman. God used this book to break the chains that held me down and free me to live in His grace. I wish I could give every woman a copy of this book. It’s that good.
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Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman, by Anne Ortlund
I first read this book as a young teenager, and it awakened me to the beauty of a life disciplined by God’s Holy Spirit. Super-practical and easy to read, you’ll find yourself coming back to this one over the years. (And if you’re short on time, the chapters are short too! Win-win.)
Face to Face, by Kenneth Boa
I had never heard of this book or its author when I picked it up in our church library, but this little collection of Scriptural prayers has become my daily guide into God’s presence during the many early mornings when nursing my baby made it difficult to have a typical quiet time. Boa adapts Scriptures into prayers that bring you face to face and heart to hear with God. It’s still one of my favorite devotional guides.
Women of the Word, by Jen Wilkin
This book revolutionized my Bible study. Seriously. I’ve been a Bible student all my life, but this book helped me understand how to study God’s Word with both my mind and my heart. I reference Jen’s book all the time, and it led me to change the way I study the Bible. It’s short but packs a punch. Pick it up right now. You can thank me later.
Sacred Pathways, by Gary Thomas
This book absolutely changed the way I think about quiet time, and I’ll never be the same again. I know that’s a bold statement, but seriously, it’s helped not only me but thousands of women I’ve coached through the Quiet Time for Busy Women program. Thomas identifies nine main spiritual temperaments (naturalist, sensate, traditionalist, ascetic, activist, caregiver, enthusiast, contemplative, intellectual) and encourages us to pursue God the way He created us to. Game changer.
Celebration of Discipline, by Richard Foster
If you’ve ever been confused, like me, about how grace and discipline work together in a believer’s life, this little book is for you. Foster beautifully explains the role of both toward our sanctification, and in a winsome way describes the most common spiritual disciplines and how they each have a role in our lives. I find myself coming back to this text again and again as I stumble my way through living out the disciplines as a busy 21st-century woman.
Praying God’s Word, by Beth Moore
Another powerful collection of Scriptures set as prayers (like Face to Face, above), this book is organized by strongholds that render so many of us ineffective for God’s Kingdom. Think of this as a battle plan as you charged into spiritual warfare, reclaiming territory the enemy has stolen and restoring God’s purpose for the deep dark places of your life that have kept you in shame and bondage. This is a liberating, life-giving book when used to pray God’s Word over your life.
Set-Apart Woman, by Leslie Ludy
This isn’t a feel-good book, but it will do your soul such good. Like a splash of cold water on my face, Leslie’s words stirred in my heart a desire to turn from the comforts and idols I had allowed to lull me to spiritual complacency and to cry out for a deeper hunger for God. Though I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the second half of the book (much of her application is between each woman and God, I believe), the first half if spot-on and well worth the read.
A Hunger for God, by John Piper
Okay, here’s my up-front disclaimer: this is a heavy book. As in, it’s deep, it’s thought-provoking, and it’s kind of hard to read. I usually read anything Piper a page or two at a time, letting the words percolate in my soul before I move on. And this book is no exception. I picked it up because I wanted a hunger for God but didn’t know how to fabricate it in my own life. Along with Satisfy My Thirsty Soul (see above), God used this book to reveal to me idolatry in my life and stir in me a deep hunger for Him.
Knowing God, by J. I. Packer
This book has become a Christian classic, and for good reason. It not only helps you know more about God but also leads you into a deeper relationship to personally know God. There’s a difference there, and it’s the key distinguishing factor between those whose knowledge remains surface-level theory and those who experience God in their own lives in a mighty way. Consider it Theology 101 for everyday people.
Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers
This is the only novel on the list, but sometimes the greatest truths are communicated to us through story. In this case, God’s relentless love struck me in a fresh way, and the tears flowed freely as I worshiped Jesus for loving me more than any man ever will. Redeeming Love is based on the true Old Testament narrative of Hosea, and it’s an incredible story that will stay with you for years to come. (Warning: there are some graphic scenes that may be inappropriate for young children, so please read it before giving it to your daughters.)
Forgotten God, by Francis Chan
This book absolutely revolutionized the way I thought about God. God the Father and Jesus the Son I understood, but the Holy Spirit? Well, I wasn’t quite sure what He does and how I should relate to Him. Have you ever felt that way? This book walked me through Scriptures I’m sure I’ve read but had never before understood, and unleashed the power of the Holy Spirit in my life as I learned how to adore Him and invite Him to work in my life.
Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist
This book wrecked me in the worst and best possible way. Shauna puts into words the frustrations I’ve been carrying for far too long (that were honestly due to my own perfectionist tendencies), and like an older sister, kindly and gently points the way to a quieter, more present way of life. In our noisy and frantic society that pushes us for more, faster, and bigger, this book calls you to the quiet and humble life that Christ exemplified for us.
50 Women Every Christian Should Know, by Michelle DeRusha
This isn’t a book you read in one sitting, but rather a text you pick up when you need some encouragement that what you do every day matters, even if no one but your three-year-old sees you. My friend Michelle compiled readable and fascinating short biographies of 50 history-making world-shaking women that were just like me and you. These are role models for our daughters, and I intend to read through this book with my girls as they grow up, because their stories shape our own aspirations and dreams even centuries later.
Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver
I find Jesus’ conversation with Martha riveting, because He understood the burdens and worries she carried, and invited her to choose one thing alone: deeper intimacy with Him. Joanna beautifully lays out what that type of intimate relationship can look like for busy women today, and there’s a good reason it’s sold over a million copies. This is one to read and cherish.
Crazy Love, by Francis Chan
I kept putting off reading this book because of all the hype, but when I finally listened to it, I felt Francis was putting into words so many of my own thoughts on this journey toward deeper intimacy with God. It’s challenging, compelling, and deeply moving. My only regret was not being able to underline all the quotes that made me pause and ponder because I was listening to the audiobook. Do yourself a favor and get the paperback.
Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis
If you’ve never read Mere Christianity, you’re in for a treat! Lewis wrestles through some of the issues we all struggle with when it comes to our Christian faith, and he reasons with logic and faith in a way that is quite compelling. It’s a great read for new and seasoned Christians alike.
The Practice of the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence
This little has helped me understand that there is no sacred and secular divide when it comes to the Christian’s life. Everything we do, from sweeping the floors to serving communion is infused with the presence of God when we do it unto Him. Whether you’re climbing the corporate ladder or serving cheerios to kiddos, this book will help you do it all with a greater reverence for God’s presence with you.
And of course, there are a few runner-ups that I couldn’t just leave off the list, so here are a few honorable mentions:
- The Treasure Principle, by Randy Alcorn
- The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman
- The Power of a Praying Wife, by Stormie Omartian
And if you’re so excited you just want to blow through all these books right away, you can try Kindle Unlimited for free and read & listen to unlimited books on unlimited devices for 30 days. Ahem. Excuse me while I go add more books to my reading list.
What would you add to my list? Please comment below and let me know!
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