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20 Christian Books That Will Ruin Your Life

“The man who does not read books has no advantage over the man that cannot read them” -Mark Twain

During the school year (while teaching) I am terrible at making time to read every day. By bedtime, I can usually barely keep my eyes open let alone digest some profound Christian thought.

Still, I am constantly striving to do better because I know that reading is one of the biggest opportunities for us to grow in our faith.

A few months back I made a list of 12 Christian Books that Will Rock Your World that has made a big splash on the Pinterests (it’s not just for women people…). So, how about another round?

Here are 8 more books that have TRULY impacted my faith. They are mostly non-fiction with a devotional and a beautiful prayer book thrown in for good measure. Click the title and it will take you right to Amazon!

UPDATE: I have expanded this list and created a FREE eBook with 20 Christian Books that have changed my life!! All you have to do is join my mailing address below and Voila! Free eBook!

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Here are the 8 of the books so you can get a preview!

Just a heads up: I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. What that means is purchasing here will be the exact same price you’d find on Amazon.com BUT it helps offset the many costs of running this crazy awesome ministry I call Recklessly Alive.

Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

This is easily the most impactful book I’ve read in 2015. The book contrasts stories of overseas pastors risking their lives to hear and share the gospel with American mega-churches are worth more than 260 billion dollars in land and buildings. I absolutely loved this book and the lasting effects it has had on my life. Radical has ruined the way I see American churches and our deep-rooted “American dreams.”

“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”  -David Platt


Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence

This has become the essential devotional for many Christians, myself included. The reading is very short but day after day calls us to a greater peace by trusting our incredible Heavenly Father. Each day ends with 2-3 shorts bible verses for further thought and reflection.

“Sometimes My blessings come to you in mysterious ways: through pain and trouble. At such times you can know My goodness only through your trust in Me. Understanding will fail you, but trust will keep you close to Me.”-Sarah Young


The God I Never Knew: How Real Friendship with the Holy Spirit Can Change Your Life

This book has made me completely rethink the Holy Spirit and its role in the trinity alongside God the Father and God the Son. Morris does an incredible job of breaking down bible verses that explain our friendship with the Holy Spirit. I LOVED studying this book with a group but it could just as easily be read and reflected on by yourself.

“When we cultivate a friendship with the Holy Spirit and yield ourselves to His influence, we can cease feeling like wretched people. Only then can we stop doing the bad things we don’t want to do and succeed at doing the good things we want to do.”


Sacred Rhythms Participant’s Guide: Spiritual Practices that Nourish Your Soul and Transform Your Life

Ruth Haley Barton is a name that everyone should know. I attended a workshop she gave last summer that completely changed how I listen and wait for God. This book goes through a bunch of awesome spiritual practices that you can work with and try for yourself. Ruth Haley Barton is an incredible teacher and has ruined the way I thought I heard God (for the better).

“Most of us are more tired than we know at the soul level. We are teetering on the brink of dangerous exhaustion, and we cannot do anything else until we have gotten some rest…we can’t really engage [any spiritual disciplines] until solitude becomes a place of rest for us rather than another place for human striving and hard work.” -Ruth Haley Barton


Guerrillas Of Grace: Prayers For The Battle

This book is an incredible compilation of prayers that often perfectly fit my current circumstances whether that is joy, anxiety, sadness (or some combination of all of those). A few weeks after getting this book it became a permanent fixture of my coffee table.

There are so many ways to pray, I journal a lot of my prayers or I talk them out loud while driving in my car. Yet, Loder often has written what I want to say in a way that cuts straight to my heart. I can’t say enough good things about this book.

“Now, I ask you to gather me, for I realized the storms of time have scattered me, the furies of the year past have driven me, many sorrows have scarred me, many accomplishments have disappointed me, much activity has wearied me, and fear has spooked me into a hundred hiding places.”


Mere Christianity

Originally a series of radio broadcasts written by Lewis and aired on BBC radio, Mere Christianity clearly articulates the proof of God and Jesus better than any other book I have ever read. There is a reason this book is on almost everyone’s “must-read Christian book list.” It is a classic and a fantastic read.

“[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


Holy Sexuality: Beginning with Questions

I attended a workshop by Becky Patton in Minnesota and left feeling empowered and encouraged about the man God created me to be. The truth is churches almost never talk about sex with youth or with adults, yet is permeates our culture in music, movies and in the media. This book is an outstanding resource and source of information about how God created sex to be beautiful and how it has become hijacked by our culture and shamed by the church.

“As you explore the topic of Holy Sexuality, you have the opportunity to recognize how something incredibly beautiful has unfortunately become incredibly distorted. Yet, a beautiful core is waiting to be remembered and rediscovered within every man and woman.”

Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Finding True Intimacy

Just so you know, I’m a little bit of a Donald Miller superfan. I love the authentic and conversational style to his writing and when I’m reading his books I feel like I am sitting in my living room with an old friend. This book, Miller focuses on his engagement and marriage and his many struggles to let women in. Marrying later in life than many, Donald shares everything he has learned about being “good” at relationships and allowing himself to be truly seen and loved.

 “It costs personal fear to be authentic but the reward is integrity, and by that I mean a soul fully integrated, no difference between his act and his actual person. Having integrity is about being the same person on the inside that we are on the outside, and if we don’t have integrity, life becomes exhausting.”  -Donald Miller


What books have ruined your life for the better? Let me know in a comment!


Also, check out more of my favorites here:

12 Christian Books the will ROCK YOUR WORLD!


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About Sam

in love with all things Jesus, music, adventure, writing, teaching, laughter, running, friendship. Founder of recklesslyalive.com.

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  1. Radical was a great book! I will have to check some of the other ones out.

    • Radical still keeps coming up in my mind over and over and I read it last June! Thanks for stopping by friend!

  2. I LOVE Radical!!! Amazing book!! Two books that have really shaken me are The Shack by William P. Young. It is a novel but an easy and amazing read. I studied it like I did Radical!! The story behind the making of the book is truly amazing! He wrote it for his children and it is now going to be a movie this year.
    The other book is Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Anything by Francis Chan is great!! He did the introduction for David Platt’s book Follow Me. They are both on the same page when it comes to making disciples and our perception of Christians vs. Americanized Christians.
    Thank you for your list!! I am going to check out some of these books!!!

    God Bless!!

    • Anna Marie-

      We must have very similar tastes in books! I LOVED The Shack – have you seen the trailer for the movie? I also loved Crazy Love. I’ll have to check out Follow Me.

      Thank you!

  3. Two of my recent favorites are “firsthand” by Ryan and Josh Shook and “Awe” by Paul David Tripp. If you’ve never read those, do!

    • I think I have seen AWE on the shelf but I haven’t read it. I will add both of those to my list. Thank you so much!

  4. God and I had a talk about this a long time ago. I love to read, but it seriously interfered with reading God’s Word. So, I don’t read books, even by Christian authors.

    However, each person must do what God directs. I have in the past read CS Lewis and reading AW Tozer helped me to dig deeper.

    • Interesting perspective. I totally agree the bible has to be the main focus! I’ve been reading a lot of bible commentaries as well in my quiet time. The Christ-Centered Exposition series is my favorite commentary. Thanks for sharing Tammy!

  5. Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman, more AHA moments than any other book I have read about following Christ.

    • I will definitely have to read Not a Fan. So many have suggested that AND it’s been on my shelf for years. I’m on it Ellen! 🙂

  6. I literally have never read ANY of these. I would have said, “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman and his “The End of Me” were both books that pushed me to have a deeper faith for sure. A life changer for me was When War Comes Home – a faith based bible study for the wives of combat veterans. Such a powerful book to walk through with a fellow Army wife. Just finished Barnabas Piper’s Help My Unbelief – I’m not sure it was earth shattering, more of perspective shifting, but I can see a very real difference in how I relate to God’s word, my prayer life and the strength of my faith. I would definitely recommend that one for someone who has ever had doubt as a Christian because he walks us through fearing those doubts to teaching us how to take them to the cross.

    • Not a Fan has been on my to-read list FOREVER. I will definitely have to read that one soon. I’ve heard of Kyle Idleman, I’ll have to check out that one too. Thank you so much!

  7. Thank you so much for this list! I stumbled upon it on Pinterest as I was looking to build my summer reading list. For someone hoping to be a missionary in the future, Radical most definitely changed my life for the better. Jesus Calling is an amazing devotional. It seemed as if each day was always so relevant to what was going on in my life–right on time! As a suggestion, I highly recommend reading The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. This book will challenge your faith as it reveals the costs of following Christ.

  8. Paola Davidson

    If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Follow Me, by David Platt. Be ready to be challenged!

  9. Room of marvels strengthend my faith by a long shot!

  10. Rees Howells: Intercessor by Normal Grubb is an unreal biography that was so convicting and practical (because, after all, it is just the story about what he DID) that it changed my approach to prayer and following the Holy Spirit.
    Red Mood Rising by Dave Roberts and Pete Greig was also a really good, quick read about the current 24/7 prayer movement in Europe with stories from around the world.

    Thanks for this post!

  11. Waking the Dead by John Eldredge and Supernatural Ways of Royalty by Kris Vallotton and Extreme Prayer by Greg Pruett are all really good books. Thanks for the list I know I want my life to change in a radical God kind of way!!

  12. For me walking with Jesus has been a progressive journey of change. Of course the Bible.
    “Books that have corrected my thinking”
    Knowledge of the Holy by A.W Tozer Don’t limit God.
    A biography of George Mueller “talk to God first then others about your need”
    Books about changing behavior
    Joyce Meyers books on the tongue, will, emotion and the mind.
    Getting through life tragedies(two) Worship and praise
    1. “Yet, I will praise Him” Terry Law loss of his wife of Jan of
    2. “The Power of Praise and Worship” Dr. Terry Law A second devastating
    Founder & President of World Compassion, Terry Law Ministries
    Two Pamphlets that have changed my vision
    “Born to Reproduce” “Navigator press by Lorne Sanny Discipleship follows evangelism
    “My Heart–Christ’s Home” InterVarsity Press Robert Boyd Munger’s “no secret rooms”

  13. Caroline McIver

    I keep coming back to “A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm” by Philip Keller. It radically changed the way I look add my walk with Christ

  14. This sharing of book/reading comments shared here…has been an awesome blessing. Many books mentioned I have in my Christian library of 55 + years. I thank you! This has encouraged me to reread many of them due to these recent sharings. Blessings to you and your’s ♡ JoJo ♡ Joshua I : 8. . .Amen!

  15. The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler is definitely worth a read. It provides a contrast from what you usually hear as a Christian because it talks a lot about the wrath of God. It brings up many other points about Christianity that kind of shook my world and made me see God in a whole new way. I highly recommend!

  16. “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day” by Mark Batterson is an amazing book! It is a challenge to chase down God-given opportunities.

    • Oh my gosh Leah, I bought this book after you recommended it and I LOVED it. Thank you so much!! Have you read The Lion (the black follow-up book?) Do you have any other awesome recommendations?

  17. If you like David Platt you’ll love Paul Washer. Check out The Gospel’s Power and Message.

    *side note.. I have heard many say there are 3 books every Christian should have in their library – The Bible, Pilgrim’s Progress, and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is a non-fiction account of christian martyrs throughout history starting at the time of the apostles. It’s very detailed and graphic, which makes it a tough read but a must for an accurate perspective of biblical of christianity. John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory based on the journey and struggles of the Christian life. (I would suggest a modern translation)

    “If you cut him (John Bunyan), he’d bleed scripture.” — Charles. H. Spurgeon

  18. Just signed up , and convictingly enjoyed your article on millennials. I’m a 64 year old pastor and know that American Christianity needs revival. Anyway, this is about books. I recommend Andrew Farley’s God Without Religion. . A book I have couples read who are thinking of marriage is Divine Romance by Gene Edwards. BTW.. if you like radical, read anything by Gene Edwards. My suggestion is to start with , “A Tale of Three Kings”. His books are found on a site called Seedsower. He is in his 80’s and has been speaking your messages since the 1980’s. Sadly not too many Christians have heard him. Worth your time to browse Seedsower. Thanks

  19. Not a Fan By Kyle Idleman. It really challenged me to examine my faith and whether I was really following through on my calling.


  20. Redeeming Love is one of my favorite reads!
    It’s a novel that captures The Fathers love for us so well.