You are what you eat? I say you are what you read. You are far more influenced by what you feed your mind than by what you feed your body. Both are important, but making a commitment to a healthy diet of soul-food is a powerful way to shape your life this year. Here are my 15 favorite reads from 2015. Most of the books I read are recommendations (or gifts) from others, so please take a moment and share your favs in the comments (or send me a copy!). If you’re in a hurry, you can skip down and see the TOP 5 at the bottom.praying life

*1. A Praying Life by Paul Miller. One of my top 4 favorite books ever on prayer. (Two others are below.) Simple, straightforward, practical. Miller manages to make powerful prayer accessible and gives honest examples from his own life. Worth buying. This is a great book for small group study as well!

2. His Healing Power by Lilian Yeomans. A friend bought this for me, and I’m so grateful! I had only searched the scriptures in my journey of trying to understand God’s will for healing, but it was profoundly encouraging to read someone else (from almost a century ago!) confirm these truths and share many examples from her experience.

3. Good to Grace by Christine Hoover. I love Christine Hoover, and was honored she sent me a copy of her book to review. Christine writes in a straightforward, Christ-exalting way that always draws attention to Him and not her. I love that about her. She shares her journey from pursuing the goodness-gospel to resting in true grace, an adventure through Galatians that I had also experienced while immersed in that book of the Bible. If you find yourself still struggling with perfectionism, this is a great read.

4. Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty. A friend bought this for me, and I’ll confess: At first I was suspicious. I wrote at length about it here, but I ended up enjoying this book a lot, and was grateful for Sara’s honest account of wrestling with God during a season of suffering. This is a great book to help someone through a season of confusing, and specifically addressing the issue of infertility.

5. Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind by Bill Johnson. A friend bought this for me as well and … Wow! I had never read anything by Bill Johnson, and this book was hugely encouraging to me on my journey of understanding healing. I kept saying out loud, “Yes! Finally someone who’s SEEING the things we’re believing God for!” It was so encouraging for my faith. It’s a quick read, and worth it!purple pig

6. Complete Guide to Asperger’s by Tony Attwood. Again, a friend bought this for me. Admittedly, this isn’t going to appeal to most of you, 😉 but if you have a child with Asperger’s it most certainly will! For me, this was like reading a textbook about my son. I only skimmed some sections that didn’t apply to him, but it helped me understand why he does what he does, and gave me lots of encouragement and ideas for ways to help him thrive. Not a thrilling read, but so helpful!

*7. The Purple Pig and other miracles by Dick Eastman. Again, a gift from a friend. Actually, she loaned it to me but I loved it so much I refused to give it back! 😉 Wow! This is another of my top 4 favorite books on prayer. Truly AMAZING. Hugely encouraging for my faith. The title’s sort of lame, but if you can get past that, read this! So eye-opening regarding the power we have through prayer and ability to truly shape our world and influence our culture. Worth buying!heavenly man

*8. The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun.  How on earth had I never heard of this book until this year?! MUST READ. Again, a friend loaned it to me, but I had to buy my own copy, it’s that good. Every Christian should read this book. Challenging, inspiring, faith-building. It gives you a heart for God’s world and puts life into perspective in an amazing way. As one reviewer wrote, “You might begin this book sitting down, but you will finish it on your knees.”  Read!

*9. The Gospel of Healing by AB Simpson. In my opinion, this is the briefest, clearest, most Scriptural overview of the theology of healing in the Scriptures. No fluff here. Just a clear overview of the Scriptural accounts and commands regarding this topic. You can get the whole text here for free. If you have any interest in learning more about healing, this is a great place to begin!

10. Healing by Father Francis MacNutt. What a surprise this book was! I stumbled upon it tucked away on a shelf at my mother-in-law’s house when I had nothing else to read, and sat down not expecting much … boy was I wrong! This is a powerful, thoughtfully laid out look at how and why we have neglected the biblical practice of pursuing healing. He looks at the progression in church history, drifting from this practice, and gives numerous real-life examples from his own experience. I also appreciated reading something from a catholic, whose experience and wording is often so different from my own. A huge learning experience. Grateful for this book.intercessory prayer

11. The Power that Changes the World by Bill Johnson. This was also given to me. It didn’t strike me quite as much as his transformed mind book, but this definitely helped me understand the hope we have in Christ and how we are called to influence culture with that power and hope. For anyone tempted to embrace an escapist mentality, Johnson helps call you back to Christ’s mission of changing the world for God’s glory.

*12. Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets. Another book I stumbled upon, this time at my mom’s house, tucked away on a shelf. The cover didn’t appeal to me, so I sort of dragged my heels on reading it, but oh my! Must read! Some people don’t like his conversational, informal way of writing, but this book inspired me to pray! This is another of my top 4 favorite books on prayer. I bought copies for our elder’s wives; it’s that good! I decided that anyone who regularly prays for me I want to have this book because I want them to pray for me like this! Worth buying.

13. As it Was in the Days of Noah by Jeff Kinley. Again, this was my mom’s book I snagged while at her house. This book gives an overview of the story of God throughout history, culminating in these days and specifically how we are living in the last days that are exactly like the days of Noah. I didn’t necessarily see anythinghabits new presented in these pages, but it’s a a good reminder that we most certainly are in the last days!

14. Habits by Charlotte Mason. I have already raved about this book here. I love it! It influenced our home and homeschool life more than anything else. It’s become a helpful template for plotting our course in life and becoming more purposeful in how we spend our hours and days. I think it’s helpful for anyone, not just parents. We are what we repeatedly do! (kindle version is only 99-cents!)

15. Outdoor Life of Children by Charlotte Mason. Another 99-cent kindle book, this inspired us to begin our daily practice of a nature-walk with the kids. We already spend much time outdoors all day, but this helped me understand why it’s so important, and make it more of a priority in our days.

So, my top-5 recommendations from 2015 are: A Praying Life, The Purple Pig, The Heavenly Man, The Gospel of Healingand Intercessory Prayer

{With all the options out there, thank you for reading THIS!}

Looking ahead, here are a few books I hope to read in 2016. Please leave me your recommendations in the comments!

  1. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Aquinas
  2. Christian Fellowship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  3. For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer McCauley
  4. The Soul of Discipline by Kim Payne
  5. The Mother at Home by John Abbott
  6. Visions of Vocation: Common grace for the common good by Steven Garber
  7. The Invention of Wings by Susan Monk Kidd
  8. Called to be Saints: A call to Christian Maturity by Gordon T Smith
  9. The Measure of Success by Carolyn McCulley
  10. Wingspread: AB Simpson, study in spiritual altitude by AW Tozer



  • elishacatts

    I haven’t read it in years and I’m in a different place in my walk now so I might love it less, but I really enjoyed “Kitchen Table Counseling” by Muriel cook. Also, “For Those Tears” by Nora Lam. I think you would love that one. Love you! So grateful for all the reading recommendations!

    • Kari Patterson

      I love Kitchen Table Counseling! That’s funny because as I was sorting through books I laid that one aside to be a resource for the Bible study leaders. 😉 It was long time ago that i read it too. I’ve not heard of For Those Tears, I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks friend!

      • elishacatts

        I just started From Good to Grace per your recommendation from this post.

        Oh. My. Goodness. Just what I needed to read! Thanks. 🙂

        • Kari Patterson

          Oh hooray!! I’m so glad. Don’t you love how she writes? She’s constantly pointing to God. When I come over next week I’ll bring a box of books you can look through!

  • Karen Brewster

    Fierce Women: The Power of a Soft Warrior. Kimberly Wagner.
    Life changer book this year.

    • Kari Patterson

      Ooh, wow. Life changer is a biggie! I’ll check it out. Thanks, Karen!

  • Jessica Walker

    Restless or Anything – jennie Allen
    The Rest of God – Mark Buchanan
    The Reason for God -Tim Keller
    A Mother’s Heart – Jean Fleming
    All so good!
    Thanks for your recommendations!

    • Kari Patterson

      I very much enjoyed Jennie Allen’s book Restless! Thank you for the recommendations; they look great!

      • I just finished The Heavenly Man on your recommendation… I have never read a book quite like it. Completely inspirational…thank you!

        • Kari Patterson

          Yes, right? Hard to describe to people. It’s one you have to EXPERIENCE.

  • Elisabeth

    LOVE this list, Kari! Thanks for sharing! I have shelves full of books to read, but some of these are already on my list or partially read–one at least thanks to you (Simpson)! I hope to read more this year than in the past. Have been in a tough season! Anyway, have you seen The Real Faith for Healing by Charles Price? Another older book and apparently a classic on the topic that my parents have/recommended. Still haven’t gotten it, but want to. Happy New Year 🙂

    • Kari Patterson

      Ooh I’d love to read that! Thanks so much, Elisabeth, I’ll check it out. Thank you!

  • Courtney David

    I’m just starting on the books I got for Christmas. The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, The Story of God’s Love for You by Sally Lloyd-Jones, and Give Them Grace by Elyse Fitzpatrick.

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