Six African-American devotionals for Lent

Deepen your spirituality over the next 40 days with the help of books designed for this special season.

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March 2 marks the beginning of a significant time within the Christian church. The season of Lent honors the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as Christians journey towards Easter Sunday, or what many Black churches have dubbed “Resurrection Sunday.” Distinguished as “holy time” within the Christian liturgical calendar, the next 40 days are intended for deeper spiritual reflection, biblical study, fasting and intentional prayer.

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As more African-American Christians endeavor to make Lenten practices feel more their own, they are infusing them with cultural relevance and creativity. The result has been more resources specific to the Black Christian faith experience to guide African-Americans through the season. With Lenten season now upon us, here are six devotionals designed to foster deeper introspection and faith. While they are not all Lenten-specific, each can be used during the 40 days to reach your spiritual goals.

This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us by Cole Arthur Riley (Convergent Books, 2022)

Credit: Convergent Books

In her debut work, Arthur Riley revisits the sacred and holiness of Black flesh and journeys with the reader in their discovery of the same.


Where You There?: Lenten Reflections on the Spirituals by Luke Powery (Westminster John Knox Press, 2018)

Credit: Westminster John Knox Press

In this work, Powery invites the reader to explore the deeper meaning of spirituals and unpack how they articulate the mystery of the Christian life.


Journey with Jesus through Lent by Glenn E. Porter (Judson Press, 2017)

Combining the Gospel of Luke and African proverbs, readers walk alongside Jesus as he ultimately makes his way to cross in this seven-week study.

Credit: Judson Press

Plenty Good Room: A Lenten Bible Study Based on African American Spirituals by Marilyn Thornton and Lewis V. Baldwin (Abingdon Press, 2016)

This six-week study fuses the history of Negro spirituals with biblical texts to offer a unique opportunity to learn Black history while becoming even more rooted in faith.

Credit: Abingdon Press

One Day My Soul Just Opened Up: 40 Days and 40 Nights Toward Spiritual Strength and Personal Growth by Iyanla Vanzant (Atria Books, 1998)

Long considered a seminal devotional text for Black women, Vanzant uses reflections and activities to push the reader into a space of greater personal accountability and spiritual formation.

Credit: Atria Books

The 40 Day Faith Journey by Monica A. Coleman (Monica A. Coleman, 2021)

Bundling her celebrated devotional Not Alone: Reflections on Faith and Depression with a guided journal, vegan recipes and more, Coleman has created an opportunity for faith-filled people to spend 40 days honoring the intersections of spirituality and mental health.

Credit: Monica A. Coleman

Candice Benbow

Candice Marie Benbow is theGrio’s daily lifestyle, education and health writer. She’s also the author of Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @candicebenbow.


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