Review: A Hunger for God

A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer by John Piper (David Platt, Francis Chan)

Deeply stirring – this may change your spiritual life

David Platt and Francis Chan ask in their foreward to this book: “Where are the passionate conversations today about communing with God through fasting and prayer?” (p. 10)

I’ve fasted and prayed off and on over the years, but I have never understood the biblical teaching on fasting the way I do after reading this book. Someone recently asked me, “what’s the point? be miserable for a day? why?” I was able to give a clear, helpful answer, because I had been reading this book. The basic reality is that we want to cultivate a hunger for God, by saying no to other appetites and redirecting our desires directly onto him.

“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie… The most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.” (18)

“The true mortification of our carnal nature is not a simple matter of denial and discipline. It is an internal spiritual matter of finding more contentment in Christ than in food.” (35)

Chapter 1, Is Fasting Christian?, blew my mind! Have you ever thought about the difference between Old-Covenant-fasting and New-Covenant-fasting? Do you realize how the presence of the future kingdom is reflected in our fasting? Have you ever seen the fundamental shift, as new wine is poured into new wineskins instead of old, in fasting? I had never thought this through, though I’ve thought through the related issues. This chapter alone caused me to set the book down for a week, and dig deeply into the Bible itself to grasp these truths directly from the Word. This chapter is worth the price of the book. But it actually gets better, more intense, more seriously joyful, more ravenous for God.

Chapter 4, Fasting and the Lord’s Coming, was another very high point in this book.

“The almost universal absence of regular fasting for the Lord’s return is a witness to our satisfaction with the presence of the world and the absence of the Lord.” (80)

I do not cry out “Come Lord Jesus” as I would if I really desired Him as I ought. O, help me God to want you more!

These are the hungers that will be stirred in your heart as a result of reading this book. I highly, highly recommend it, for revival, for the little ones being slaughtered every day, for the billions of unreached-unengaged-unevangelized people in the world, for your deepest serious hungry joy, for His glory.