A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
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A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer

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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,492 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Pastor-scholar John Piper invites the reader to sharpen his or her appetite for God by turning away from the dulling effects of food and the dangers of idolatry and draw closer to God through simple fasting with accompanying prayer.
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Published (first published July 3rd 1997)
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Chris
In almost every way this is the best book I've read on fasting. Piper really sells the importance of this oft-neglected discipline, particularly for our current satisfaction-obsessed culture.

The only real misstep of this book--and it's a jarring one--is the seventh chapter, in which Piper focuses on the importance of fasting over the issue of abortion. Of course, it makes sense to talk about fasting over a particular issue of world concern. But he doesn't do much to justify the topic's inclusio...more
Zack Migioia
I would highly recommend this book to any and all Christians.


Fasting is not practiced or taught in most churches today and the Bible speaks very clearly to subject of fasting. It's so helpful to look at fasting as a privilege and joy, rather than a duty and dread. Whether we eat or don't eat, we should be joyful. Joyful eating and Joyful fasting make up the Christian's life.

God rewards those who fast, but it's important to know that it's not in a meritorious way. The reward that comes from fas...more
Benjamin
God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. That's the message of this book for why we fast. This is an excellent biblical expository work on key passages on fasting. Not just why and how, but also the dangers and damage of doing it wrongly, in practice or motivation. The first half of this book taught me a great deal and will be used to keep my own path pure when it comes to fasting. Maybe the most poignant passage being how uncommon this discipline has become being that we a...more
Daniel Duane
Insightful and profound in tackling the issue of the Christian fast. I love the way Piper looks at Fasting. Fasting is just like prayer. It isn't like something Christians must or are obliged to do. It's something that IS part of Christian Life, just as prayer and worship. Fasting is not an ends of a means. It should accompany prayer and worship. The goal is not to master the flesh, although mastering fleshly desires and passions can be the result of fasting. But Fasting goes much deeper than th...more
David
A great book to read!

Recently I commented to my wife that in our community there has been a surge of restaurants. In some ways, I suppose that is good for the economy. Yet it may seem strange to people in the west so accustomed to eating “three square meals a day” that fasting should play any role for a conservative evangelical person at the dawn of the 21st century. John Piper’s book on fasting, A Hunger for God, is the best book I’ve read on the subject.

Piper first asks the question: Is Fasti...more
Diana Barrick
I've read so many Piper books that they begin to sound like a broken record in my head. "John Edwards...blah...blah..." I skimmed through this book until I got to his chapters explaining Isaiah 58. Reading these chapters came as an unexpected splash of cold water in the face. I had wanted to read a book on fasting because of this very passage I'd stumbled across in my own Bible study! I went back and reread this book; taking notes and the time to digest (hah!) it all. I loved his explanation of...more
Mandy Hoffman
MY REVIEW:

This is a book I really wanted to read, but it took me a long time to finally read it because I knew I would be convicted. And, yes, I was.

John Piper eloquently and passionately explains fasting and it's Biblical basis as well as it's secular background. He digs into Scripture, both Old Testament and New Testament, to learn what place fasting has in our lives and they why and how behind doing it today in our own lives. I walked away having learned a lot, having been challenged immense...more
Ryan
I was attracted to this book because of the subtitle: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer. Like others who have read some of John Piper's work, I appreciate the way he targets our desires as a true reflection of our relationship with God. I was intrigued to see how he would write about fasting in this light.

Piper does his usual careful, persuasive job in this book, and I enjoyed it. Well, I enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy something that is convicting! He writes that fasting can be used a...more
Pat Roseman
This was a great book on fasting. Piper explores the scriptural basis and many (if not all) of the reasons for fasting. He cautions against a lot of the pitfalls [Woe to the fasting that leaves sin in our lives untouched. The only authentic fasting is fasting that includes a spiritual attack against our own sin. I sour fasting really a hunger for God? We test whether it is by whether we are hungering for our own holiness. To want God is to hate sin. For God is holy, and we cannot love God and lo...more
Jason
I'll start with a confession.

I don't like John Piper. I mean, obviously, I don't know the man, and I've never met him. But his book on N.T. Wright highlighted some fairly major presuppositions that he and I disagree on, and his childishness in regards to the Rob Bell fiasco just left a bad taste in my mouth.

But I'm fasting this Lent, and I really needed something to read to move fasting into a more profound level for me, and not just being hungry and irritated for days at a time, and Piper's wo...more
Chris
My only complaint with Piper is that sometimes he takes 200 pages to say what he could have said in 130. I think this is the case with this book. It was definitely worthwhile and I highly recommend it but I think it could have been shorter. Perhaps the issue was that I didn't have to be convinced as I'm with one mind with Piper on the topic. The only issue I have is that he indicates that fasting can be applied to something other than food and I disagree with that. There are instances when the B...more
Shannon
I read this book several months ago and never got around to reviewing it, partly because I have about twenty pages left to read in the book. But a friend told me a while back that reading non-fiction is different than reading fiction. When she has the author's point in a non-fiction book, she feels it's OK to stop, whether she's read every word or not. I definitely read enough of this book to get its point.

Piper is one of my favorite Christian writers. He really has a heart for God and has used...more
Matt
This book stems from the basic life principle in the author’s earlier book, Desiring God, which states “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” He fleshes this statement out in the context of fasting and prayer. Piper builds a case for fasting in the church from a biblical perspective as well as addresses many of the modern day concerns with this spiritual discipline. While food fasting is the most common way to fast, he shows the reader other ways that are biblically app...more
Monica
I loved MOST of this book. As do most Piper books, it challenged me to hunger for God more than I do. It made me stop and ask myself, "Do I love God like this?"

However, the last chapter was an enormous disappointment. I am pro-life, and I think 90% of abortions are performed because of false information. Nonetheless, I was not convinced that this chapter belonged in a book about fasting. Piper spent the entire chapter talking about abortion laws, how wrong they are, and what a tragedy abortion i...more
Jeff Short
This is a study of fasting and desire for God. Piper takes the principles of fasting from the Old Testament and weaves them together with the teaching on fasting in the New Testament. This book answers a lot of questions about the why’s of fasting. He enumerates the blessings of it and sounds many needed warnings also.

I recommend this book to get a better grasp of this subject. The chapter on Isaiah 58 is convicting and clarifying. There are practical implications for all believers. I believe ev...more
James Mindrup
Such a clear and honest look at fasting
Alan
It's a great read so far. Pastor Steve asked me to speak to our church about fasting, and I read a couple of paragraphs from the Introduction. I do normally read book introductions but I have never quoted one before.

Typical of Piper, the writing is too deep to skim over any parts, so my progress is slow though very enjoyable so far.

UPDATE - Finished! It was good to the end, a great resource, informative and encouraging. Fasting for prayer has become very valuable to me, very beneficial for focus...more
Adam Shields
Full review at http://bookwi.se/a-hunger-for-god-des...

Short review. This was a good introduction to fasting as a biblical discipline. It veered into politics in the middle, but other than that I thought it was a very good take on the subject. This was much more of a positive tone than Scot McKnight's book Fasting.

Neither this book or Fasting talks about how to fast. If you are looking for practical discussions about how to fast. You need to keep looking.
Josiah
Good exposition on importance of fasting.
Sam
Fasting 101. Simply one of the best Christian readings on fasting. The quintessential Piper. Easy to read, easy to understand & easy to put to practice, Piper makes us to understand that when our desire for God reaches the point where ONLY His presence can satisfy, then & only then does our fasting begins. A priceless appendix presents an icing-on-the-cake of quotes from church fathers & foremost christian leaders & authors on satisfying our desire for God through fasting.
Omar
I found this book both challenging and encouraging. Challenging because I have not been utilizing fasting in my own spiritual life. Encouraging because i found myself wanting to fast. In other words Piper does not guilt the read into fasting. Rather he leads you to a theology of fasting and shows you what you have been missing (if you haven't been doing it). The result is a rich theology of this practice which is extremely practical.
Jason Johnston
Fasting isn't about denying food for the sake of denying it. It's about being homesick for God and desperately longing for Him.
Emily
There are a lot of good books out there on fasting. I appreciate Piper's level-headed, no-hype approach, but the best part of the book is his in-depth analysis of the relevant biblical passages. That's not even to mention his powerful handling of the English language, which certainly outstrips many of the other religious pundits of our day.

Free download at Desiring God (.org)
Angelyn Vaughan
This could have been a great essay. Like several of Piper's books, the theme is great, but the variations on the theme for each chapter become tiresome. I did love the chapter on fasting for the poor, but it was mostly focused on service and giving, which I struggle with much less than fasting with prayer (the reason I read the book). So ultimately, I didn't gain much from reading this.
Matt Hartzell
Mar 29, 2012 Matt Hartzell rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: People who long for God
Shelves: theology
This is one of the only books I've read on fasting, and Piper does a great job of breaking down Biblical fasting and its purposes. The introduction alone gave me a greater understanding and appreciate of fasting. Whereas before I only understood fasting as a tool to assist in personal decision making, I now see fasting as a much broader expression of my longing for God.
Kiley
i really enjoyed the first 2/3 of this book. sometimes christian non-fiction is tough for me to wade through, but this was a quick read for me. i will say, though, that i skimmed the last 1/3 of the book. it didn't seem to have a lot of new content.

i would definitely recommend this book for those interested in the motivations behind christian fasting.
Ian Hammond
This book could be one of those books that really change the way you think. And it just might be the best John Piper book that I have read thus far! It is filled with Bible, deep thoughts, and inspiring stories. Cannot recommend it enough. Have not read too many books, but this is no doubt a top ten. Plan to compile a list if quotes to post on here.
Jared Daugherty
Hungering and thirsting for God through prayer and fasting. God does prepare us for Himself through reflection and time with Him apart from our business and everyday struggles. When we fast, not if we fast acoodring to Scripture. We fast and pray to be with God because of who He is not to wack him like a pinata in the sky to get what we want.
Scott
As usual, Piper closely analyzes biblical teaching and draws on wisdom from other writers, especially in the English-speaking Reformed tradition. He takes Matthew 9:14-17 -- where Jesus says that His disciples will not fast while the Bridegroom is with them, but they will when He is gone --as the key to a distinctively Christian view of fasting.
Vaclav
one of the best books on fasting and prayer!
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  • Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life
  • The Bruised Reed
  • A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life
  • A Call to Spiritual Reformation
  • The Discipline of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness
  • Living the Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing
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  • Treasuring God in Our Traditions
  • Overcoming Sin & Temptation
  • Disciplines of a Godly Man
  • Nine Marks of a Healthy Church
  • Slave: The Hidden Truth about Your Identity in Christ
  • In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life
  • Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
  • Redemption Accomplished and Applied
  • Humility: The Journey Towards Holiness
  • Because He Loves Me: How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life
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John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethe...more
More about John Piper...
Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist Don't Waste Your Life The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God The Passion of Jesus Christ Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions

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“If you don't feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.” 197 likes
“The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie.
It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for
heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not
the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we
drink in every night.”
71 likes
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