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Daily devotionals feed Christians' faith

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Brian Blair | The Republic
Books such as
Brian Blair | The Republic Books such as "A Year with Jesus," Jesus Calling," and "The Love Dare for couples" are among the most popular selling devotional volumes at The Ark in Columbus.

If Jesus is calling, then a lot of believers are answering these days.

That’s the viewpoint of Donna Kiefer and Becky Gilroy, sales associates at The Ark Book & Gift, Columbus’ Christian bookstore.

They refer to the nation’s top-selling daily prayer devotional book, “Jesus Calling,” by former missionary Sarah Young.

The release — available in an adult version that appeals mostly to women as well as teen and children’s editions — also has been a top seller at The Ark for some time.

Nationally, Thomas Nelson Publishers has sold more than 3.5 million copies of Young’s “Jesus Calling” series of titles, including a devotional Bible, since 2004.

Locally, Gilroy said people come in and purchase a copy. Many return within days to buy two or three more for friends.

“And, at 20 bucks apiece, that speaks volumes,” Gilroy said.

Thomas Nelson’s marketing staff said one enthusiastic reader purchased 23 copies to give away.

Gilroy and Kiefer say the beginning of a new year often marks a time for Christian readers to seek new daily prayer-and-reflection books. Most are priced between $15 and $20.

Kiefer said she uses “Jesus Calling” to feed her own faith.

“What people tell us they really like about her (devotionals) is that, when they read what she writes, they feel like Jesus is talking specifically to them,” Kiefer said.

But Young’s sharing of what once had been her private prayer-journal conversations with God have stretched way beyond the printed page. More than 18,000 people have liked the “Jesus Calling” Facebook page. And a phone app has allowed people to more easily take her wisdom along with them.

Young’s books are written from the perspective of what she feels Jesus is speaking to her heart each day.

Other devotionals that have gained popularity with Ark customers include “The Love Dare, Day By Day: A Year of Devotions for Couples,” by pastors Stephen and Alex Kendrick; and Eugene Peterson’s “A Year With Jesus: Daily Readings and Meditations.”

“The Love Dare” originated with the Kendricks’ Christian-themed marriage movie, “Fireproof.” A husband determined to win back his drifting wife’s affection took up a “love dare” challenge issued by his father.

The dare revolved around showing biblical love and sacrifice to his spouse even when she was cold and unfeeling.

Peterson is well known in Christian leadership circles as a pastor, Bible translator, lecturer and best-selling author.

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