“I think there has been a neglect”

From A Hunger for God by John Piper, p. 103, quoting Jonathan Edwards in Some Thoughts Concerning the Revival:

One thing more I would mention concerning fasting and prayer, wherein I think there has been a neglect in ministers; and that is that although they recommend and much insist on the duty of secret prayer, in their preaching; so little is said about secret fasting.  It is a duty recommended by our Savior to his followers, just in like manner as secret prayer is, … Though I don’t suppose that secret fasting is to be practiced in a stated manner and steady course as secret prayer, yet it seems to me ’tis a duty that all professing Christians should practice, and frequently practice.  There are many occasions of both a spiritual and temporal nature that do properly require it; and there are many particular mercies that we desire for ourselves or friends that it would be proper, in this manner, to seek of God.


“The Spirit’s special guidance”

From A Hunger for God by John Piper, p. 99

This fasting in Acts 13 proved to be an occasion for the Spirit’s special guidance.  Verses 2 and 3 say, “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’  Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”  In reporting it this way, Luke clearly wants us to see a connection between the worship, prayer, and fasting on the one hand and the decisive guidance of the Holy Spirit on the other: “While they were… fasting, the Holy Spirit said…” This is a significant biblical precedent for engaging in worship-fasting-prayer in the earnest pursuit of God’s will for our lives and the life of our church.

“A certain pleasantness of the ego”

My pride is so pervasive.

From A Hunger for God by John Piper, p. 71

Jesus is testing the reality of God in our lives.  Do we really have a hunger for God himself, or a hunger for human admiration?  O, how easy it is to do religious things if other people are watching!  Preaching, praying, attending church, reading the Bible, acts of kindness and charity – they all take on a certain pleasantness of the ego if we know that others will find out about them and think well of us.  It is a deadly addiction for esteem that we have.”