A daily devotional is a Christian religious publication that provide a specific spiritual reading for each calendar day. Many daily devotionals take the form of one year devotional books, with many being tailored specifically for children, teenagers, students, men and women. Examples of daily devotional booklets include Beside The Still Waters, The Upper Room, Our Daily Bread, and The Word Among Us.
Traditionally daily devotionals came in the format of a book, with one reading passage for each day, and often a reflection and prayer related to the Scripture lesson. With the advent of online content, daily devotionals come in multiple formats including apps, blogs, websites, and emails. There continues to be a multitude of devotional books and calendars, in addition to numerous online devotionals, that are tailored to a variety of recipient, denomination, or view. Daily devotionals differ from traditional breviaries, which are used by Christians to pray the canonical hours at fixed prayer times every day, in that daily devotionals can be used at leisure.
Daily devotionals have a long tradition in Christian religious communities, with the earliest known example being the Gælic Feliré written in Ireland in the Ninth Century. They tend to be associated with a daily time of prayer and meditation. Churchgoers often get one-year devotional books from Christian bookstores and give these as gifts for life events, such as baptisms, confirmations, graduations, weddings, among other occasions.
Beside The Still Waters is a daily devotional widely used by adherents of the Anabaptist Christian tradition. Each page of the "devotional begins with a Scripture reference and verse on a theme" with a subsequent "reflection on the theme, followed by an inspirational aphorism or a line from a hymn, and a few additional biblical references for those who would like to read through the entire Bible in a year." The themes are "temptation, trust, hypocrisy, nonconformity, [and] integrity" which are combined with "a short story or illustration with a biblically based admonition."
Daily devotionals such as My Utmost for His Highest, while common among Christians, can be found in many other traditions as well. Classic examples of devotionals include Leo Tolstoy's The Reading Circle.
- Hudson, Robert (ed.) (2004) The Christian Writer's Manual of Style: Updated and Expanded Edition Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich., p.176, ISBN 0-310-48771-4
- "Christian Booksellers See Hope Ahead". Publishers Weekly. February 10, 2021. Retrieved June 17, 2021.
- Roth, John D. (24 November 2014). "Devoted nonconformity". Anabaptist World. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
- Lippy, Charles H. (5 July 2000). American Religious Culture in the Twentieth Century. M.E. Sharpe. p. 100. ISBN 9780765638588.
In the early 1990s, for example, the Upper Room reported a bimonthly circulation of around 2 million; Our Daily Bread claimed a bimonthly circulation of 7 million.
- Fahlbusch, Erwin; Lochman, Jan Milič; Mbiti, John; Pelikan, Jaroslav; Vischer, Lukas; Bromiley, Geoffrey W.; Barrett, David B. (1999). The Encyclopedia of Christianity: A-D. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 830. ISBN 978-0-8028-2413-4.
- Tolstoy, Lev N. (1908) Круг чтения: избранныя мысли многих писателей об истинѣ, жизни и поведении (Krug Chteniia, The Reading Circle) A compendium of edifying readings for each day of the year, culled by Lev Tolstoy from the writings of various cultures; published in English as: Tolstoy, Lev (1997)A calendar of wisdom: daily thoughts to nourish the soul (translated by Peter Sekirin) Scribner, New York, ISBN 0-684-83793-5; mentioned as a classic in Dobychin, Leonid; Borden, Richard C. and Belova, Natalia (2005) Encounters with Lise and Other Stories Northwestern University Press, Evanston, Illinois, p. 155, ISBN 0-8101-1972-2
- Chambers, Oswald (1927) My utmost for His Highest; selections for every day F.A. Thorpe, Leicester, OCLC 3987736; 84 known editions; cited in B., Dave (1998) Good Morning!: Quiet Time, Morning Watch, Meditation, and Early A.A. Paradise Research Publications, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii, pp. 91-92, ISBN 1-885803-22-2; and McCasland, David (1993) Oswald Chambers: Abandoned to God Discovery House, Grand Rapids, Mich., ISBN 0-929239-75-X
- Chambers, Oswald My Utmost for His Highest, full text