Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Review : A Hunger for God

A Hunger for God
 (Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer) By John Piper

Awhile back, the ladies in my church wanted to start a book club so we could read books that would encourage our spiritual growth. We would then talk about them together. The big question was, “What book should we read first?” Well, the book, A Hunger for God by John Piper, was suggested and I was not looking forward to reading about fasting and prayer. Honestly, I really love food! I confess if I don’t eat it changes my mood, and I get really grumpy.
              I don’t like dying to myself. But, I have to say this has become one of my favorite books. I learned so much about fasting and having an appetite for God that I would highly recommend this book to every Christian believer. 

     John Piper shares different aspects of prayer and fasting throughout the book. He talks about the example of Jesus, and  how prayer and fasting have changed the course of history. In addition, he shares that we fast "to express the hunger of our hearts for the coming of our King." The conclusion on why God rewards fasting is very encouraging, and I love the appendix with amazing quotes from various people on fasting.

*Fasting is not about starving your body of food. It’s about starving our flesh of sin.
*Fasting is not something we do to earn points with God or demonstrate good works. It is about yearning and longing to be close to the One who saved, rescued, delivered, healed and loves us.
*Fasting is not about what gifts we can get from God. It is about getting more of the heart, character, and mind of God.
*Fasting is not about withholding yourself only from food. It is about stopping something for a time that you personally have to do or have all the time (ie. sweets, going on the computer, watch TV or movies, play games, read books, coffee, music, etc).

Few Quotes:
“The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And 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.”

John Piper quotes Richard Foster in the book, “Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear-if they are within us, they will surface during fasting. At first, we will rationalize that our anger is due to our hunger. And then, we know that we are angry because a spirit of anger is within us. We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ.”

“…we owe our salvation, in some measure (not to overstate it), to the fasting of Jesus. This is a remarkable tribute to fasting…Think on it. Jesus began his ministry with fasting. And he triumphed over his enemy through fasting. And our salvation was accomplished through perseverance by fasting.”

“…God rewards fasting because fasting expresses the cry of the heart that nothing on the earth can satisfy our souls besides God. God must reward this cry because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

Application:  I set aside a day of prayer and fasting while reading this book (I wanted to apply what I was reading). The following is what I wrote in my journal during this time. It was the most profound time of fasting I have experienced.
These were my goals:
  • I want to do this because I long for more of God; I need fresh anointing, power and revelation.
  • I know there is anger in my heart that needs to be cast out (removed).
  • I need to hope in God, fix my eyes on Jesus and trust wholly in Him.
I went about my day seeking what I could learn about myself and my heart condition. Here is what I learned and wrote down:
  •  Hard for me to be at peace when there are problems or issues around me-I want everything under control
  • When I see a problem I want to deal with it immediately-hard for me to wait, to work through it, or to let God work it out 
  •  Knowing or seeing a mess literally in my house or spiritually-I have to let go and enjoy life anyways
  • I’ve been ungrateful (self-indulgence and self-discipline issues)
  • I have a hard time letting people grow where they are at
  •  I expect a lot out of people
  • I think I know best about a lot of situations

My thoughts:   According to John Piper, how you react to life when you are fasting signifies what is going on in your heart. It isn’t easy to see. It gets covered up with distractions and deception. The times I go into a fast are so much different now. Fasting is a good thing. It is a necessity for me to take those times periodically and see what sin I am struggling with, what sin I need to starve, and what I can learn about Jesus. I am so grateful for John Piper’s book on hungering for more of God. I ask myself, “If I am not hungering after God, what am I hungering for?”


  1. That is interesting how John Piper feels that how we react to life when fasting signifies what is going on in your heart. Not sure if I agree with that- maybe more like when we fast, we can focus on God more and He will reveal what is going on in our hearts. I loved seeing how your fast went and the notes you took- what beautiful revelation from the Lord! -Nicole @ Working Kansas Homemaker

    1. Thank you for your kind words and taking your time to comment! You have a good point-only God can reveal the heart of man. I gleaned from the book that one of the greatest tools God accomplishes this is using our times of fasting and prayer.

  2. this sounds like an interesting book....one that I would like to read. I think fasting helps us focus more on everything! And Jesus fasted...what greater example is there?

    1. I agree with you. Fasting helps put things into perspective. If Jesus did it and it's good to do, I often wonder why I resist it?

  3. thanks for sharing this! anything by John Piper would be worth reading! i too struggle with seeing a mess or seeing a need and wanting to take care of it immediately.

  4. We just ended a 21 day Daniel fast on Easter. It was the most amazing 21 days of my life! Sounds like a great book! I will definitely be checking it out. Love your blog!


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