I was exceedingly blessed to have grown up in a home where family worship was practiced. My father faithfully read God’s word to my sister and I nearly every day. We most frequently used Samuel Bagster‘s Daily Light on the Daily Path as a devotional. This devotional is unique in that it strings together a series of verses without any explicit human commentary. Samuel Bagster and his sons prayed on a daily basis over the composition of each reading. The juxtaposition of the verses clearly reveals the Bagster’s Reformed and Protestant commitment. The way in which Bagster set up each morning or evening reading with a leading verse to which all the other verses correlated (in one or more part) forces the reader to think about how each subsequent verse relates theologically. No verse was selected arbitrarily. They reflect–in their respective order–the author’s intentional way of thinking about theological truth via the analogy of Scripture. I have probably learned more systematic and biblical theology from the Daily Light than I have from any other single book. You can buy a copy in the ESV version, or in the NKJV version.
That being said, there is one other devotional I want to recommend. It is one that is unsurpassed in Church History for it’s Christological riches. Charles Spurgeon once said of it’s author:
“[he] was the very least of commentators in the matter of criticism; he had no critical capacity, and no ability whatever as an interpreter of the letter; but he sees Jesus, and that is a sacred gift which is most precious whether the owner be a critic or no. It is to be confessed that he occasionally sees Jesus where Jesus is not legitimately to be seen. He allows his reason to be mastered by his affections, which, vice as it is, is not the worst fault in the world. There is always such a savour of the Lord Jesus Christ…that you cannot read him without profit. He has the peculiar idea that Christ is in every Psalm, and this often leads him totally astray, because he attributes expressions to the Saviour which really shock the holy mind to imagine our Lord’s using. However, not as a substantial dish, but as a condiment, place the Plymouth vicar’s work on the table. His writing is all sugar, and you will know how to use it, not devouring it in lumps, but using it to flavour other things.”
Spurgeon was speaking of Robert Hawker, Anglican vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth, Devon. It’s almost humorous to hear Spurgeon criticize Hawker for “occasionally seeing Jesus where Jesus is not legitimately to be seen,” since that is the very charge so many have laid to Spurgeon. Hawker actually wrote two daily devotionals: The Poor Man’s Morning Portion, and The Poor Man’s Evening Portion. It doesn’t take the reader long to see how rich they are in meditative thought on the Savior. I consider this work to be the most Jesus-centered devotional in church history. Reformation Heritage has published a very nice edition of the two volumes together in one. You can find it here. I am sure that you will not be disappointed by this devotional, even if you think Hawker sees Jesus where He “is not legitimately to be seen!”