5 Lent Devotionals (for Protestants)

Do you observe Lent?

Did you know that there are Lent devotionals written with Protestants in mind?

The early church officially began marking Lent liturgically at the Council of Nicea in AD 325 (incidentally, this is the same council from which we get the Nicene Creed).

The authors below assure readers that we don’t earn anything in observing Lent. We rest only in the grace of God. However, these authors also point out that Christ’s death and resurrection is the landmark event in terms of this grace from God! We would do well to emulate the early church: set aside some time for prayer, reflection, repentance; look to Jesus and his sacrifice more intentionally than we might normally do in the hustle and bustle of life.

Contemporary Protestants are increasingly interested in bringing back some of these practices of the ancient church. Families wishing to observe Lent more intentionally than they may have grown up doing should make a note of the thoughtful Lent devotional options below. If you are already in the habit of intentionally reflecting on Christ’s birth during Advent, why not consider also taking time out during Lent to meditate on his death and resurrection?

Note: I have not read every word of each of these books, but I like what I see from reading select portions. All of these books come from authors and publishers who we respect and have recommended before at Redeemed Reader.

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5 Lent Devotionals

Uncovering the Love of Jesus: A Lent Devotional by Asheritah Ciuciu. Moody, 2020. 224 pages.

Using the same format as her popular Advent devotional, Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, Asheritah Ciuciu looks closely at the love of Jesus in her Lenten devotional. She writes:

My hope is that as you read this book, you will uncover the deep love of Jesus poured out toward you personally in a whole new way, and that you will be a conduit of His love poured out toward those around you.

… Quite frankly, Lent is not a fun season. It’s heavy. But it’s beautiful too, precisely in its permission to recognize that the Christian life is not all smiles and sunshine. In this world, we will have trouble, Jesus promises, and the season of Lent permits us to be honest about those troubles, even as we press on toward Easter Sunday with the hope that Jesus has overcome the world.

from “Why Observe Lent?”

Each week begins with a special Sunday reflection with the same sort of responsive readings and suggested activities that her Advent devotional included. Suggested activities mirror the traditional disciplines associated with Lent: prayer, fasting, and giving. Each week then features daily readings, each on a different aspect of the love of Jesus. Readings include topics like “Jesus Honors the Dishonored,” “Jesus is Not Self-Seeking,” “Jesus Loves the Unlovable,” and “Jesus Offers Hope.” Meditations and activities include much encouragement to focus on others during this season, more so than the rest of the books on this list. Uncovering the Love of Jesus is also the most whole-family-friendly of the devotionals on this list, specifically written with families in mind.


To Seek and To Save by Sinclair Ferguson. The Good Book Company, 2020. 160 pages.

Using the second half of the gospel of Luke, Ferguson meditates on the final days in Jesus’ life. 41 days of devotionals invite readers to read from Luke, read Ferguson’s meditations on the same passage, and follow up with discussion and prayer. Ferguson claims he is writing a “travelogue” of the journey Jesus took to the cross, examining the characters and stories along the way. This book is pitched as a follow-up to Love Came Down at Christmas, Ferguson’s Advent devotional, so if you enjoyed that one, definitely check out this new one. It is probably best for families with children ages 12 and up, or simply used as a personal devotional, as the readings are a bit longer than some of the others.


Journey to the Cross: Devotions for Lent by Will Walker and Kendal Haug. New Growth Press, 2017. 183 pages.

Journey to the Cross uses the book of Mark as its key text, much the same way Ferguson uses Luke. The biggest difference between this volume and Ferguson’s (other than their choice of gospels) is that this devotional is more overtly liturgical. Walker and Haug do offer their own meditations on the day’s text, but each day’s readings also include a call to worship, a confession, the reading from Mark, a prayer of thanksgiving, and a closing prayer. The authors wrote some of these added elements, but most come from Scripture (ESV translation) or a well-recognized liturgical resource such as the Heidelberg Catechism, the Book of Common Prayer, the Valley of Vision, and others. Each is clearly identified in the footnotes. The authors write in their introduction:

Observing Lent is not necessary or central to experiencing life in Christ. Furthermore, this is not a season of “doing penance.” …. Lent is not about our faithfulness, but rather about the faithfulness of Jesus on our behalf.

…Lent is a journey to the cross, meditating on our sin and weakness, looking to Jesus as our perfect example and substitute, and being thankful for his victory over Satan, sin, and death.

…The journey of Lent is to immerse ourselves in this grand story so that it might increase our appreciation of Easter and love for Jesus.

~from the Introduction

This devotional would work well as a family devotional in which different members of the family read some of the readings. It is probably best for families with children ages 10 and up.


The Passion of the King of Glory (Retelling the Story) by Russ Ramsey. IVP Books, 2018. 304 pages.

Have your children (and you) grown up in the church, hearing the stories of Jesus until they’ve grown rote? This might be just what you need for this season of Lent. Like Behold the Lamb, Ramsey takes readers through the story of Jesus, retelling the narrative and interspersing in his reflections. The Passion of the King of Glory takes the gospel of John as its primary biblical text/inspiration, but there are narratives from the other gospels as well. Each day’s chapter identifies the particular Scripture passage Ramsey is retelling. Ramsey writes:

…I write not as a removed researcher but as an eyewitness to the impact this story has had on my own life and the world I inhabit. This is the story of how God loved and rescued me. I pray the same would be true for you.

From the Preface

If you are looking for more of a storytelling approach in a Lenten devotional, this is a good fit. The book’s chapters are not laid out with a different “Sunday” reading; rather, they are grouped under a few broad headings (with varying numbers of chapters under each heading): Obscurity, Popularity, Rejection, Jerusalem, Passion.

As with Behold the Lamb, this book is best for use with teens and up. Note: this is the same text as that published under the title Behold the King of Glory {affiliate link}; Ramsey’s Advent book, Behold the Lamb, was also published in this same “Retelling the Story” series as The Advent of the Lamb of God. If you bought one version for Advent and wish to keep them consistent, choose accordingly.


Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper. Crossway, 2006. 128 pages.

Also published as The Passion of Jesus Christ, this short book includes 50 2-page chapters which each focus on a different reason for Christ’s death on our behalf, such as “To Become a Ransom for Many,” “To Give Us a Clear Conscience,” “To Gather All His Sheep from Around the World,” and “To Bring Us to God.” Each chapter begins with short biblical passages from which Piper is getting his “reason.” Piper doesn’t shy away from meaty theological terms, but he also explains them in an accessible way.

Justification is not merely the cancellation of my unrighteousness. It is also the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to me. I do not have a righteousness that commends me to God. … [Christ’s righteousness] is imputed to me. That means Christ fulfilled all righteousness perfectly; and then that righteousness was reckoned to be mine, when I trusted in him.

From chapter 11, “To Complete the Obedience that Becomes Our Righteousness”

Piper is definitely Reformed, so his book will appeal most to those within that Protestant tradition. However, he writes clearly and winsomely, with great passion. This is a great choice for families with teens who are looking for meaty, robust meditation during the season of Lent (or any time of the year). The 50 chapters mean that this book would need be started earlier than the specific “Lent” devotionals above; on or around February 16 should work.


Related Reading from Redeemed Reader:

Your Turn! Let us know in the comments if your family has a favorite Lent or Easter resource.


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Betsy

Betsy is the Managing Editor at Redeemed Reader. When she reads ahead for you, she uses sticky notes instead of book darts and willfully dog ears pages even in library books. Betsy is a fan of George MacDonald, robust book discussions, and the Oxford comma. She lives with her husband and their three children in the beautiful Northwest.

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