“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.”

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.