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Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,122 Ratings  ·  170 Reviews
It's not uncommon for an accomplished musician to be able to sit down in front of a new piece of music and play it through without a hitch. To make it seem easy, as if it required no effort. Yet the "freedom" to play with such skill comes only after years of disciplined practice. // In the same way, the freedom to grow in godliness---to naturally express Christ's character ...more
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Published March 1st 2008 by Hovel Audio (first published 1991)
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Philip Mcduffie
Christ centered. Biblically saturated. Powerfully convicting. Read this book!
Todd Wilhelm
Jun 30, 2013 Todd Wilhelm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Then you read this book, which encourages you to practice all these Spiritual Disciplines. And it makes you feel like a tired, staggering juggler on a highwire, trying to keep a dozen eggs in the air with someone else wanting to throw you a half dozen more.” page 236

Exactly how I felt after reading this book! Much of what was written was basic Christianity 101 - read your bible. pray, etc. It never hurts to review though, and it helped challenge me to renew my efforts and not become slothful. I
Jan 08, 2011 Stacia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians who want to grow more in their spiritual life
Recommended to Stacia by: my church and husband
Shelves: biblical-study
5/08 This is a very good book. Donald Whitney is a good writer and really help brings to mind spiritual disciplines that one might not have thought of as is. However, I do think that this is a book that is better as a reference than a sit down and read it all. I think the best way to approach the book is read about a discipline and really put it into practice and make it a habit, and then read/learn about another discipline. If you try to do it all at once its overwhelming and not helpful.

Sep 20, 2015 Barry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't until I read Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline that I could put my finger on my vague dislike of this book: whereas Mr. Foster's book is filled with disciplines and they all feel do-able, Mr. Whitney's book is filled with disciplines that feel out of reach. As I calculated the time commitment that Mr. Whitney recommends, it would easily take hours every day to do the disciplines he suggests. That would be a great thing, to have the freedom and flexibility to spend hours everyd ...more
Rob Ross
Jun 03, 2015 Rob Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent resource for those wanting to grow in Christ. The author clarifies many aspects of Spiritual Disciplines from studying scripture to being a lifelong learner. He also includes questions and activities to get one started. The only difficulty I had with the book was the length of the chapters. In my opinion they could have been written more concisely. However, I would recommend this book to any disciple of Jesus.
Robin Koshy
Jun 06, 2015 Robin Koshy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is probably the go-to book on the basics of spiritual disciplines (prayer, bible intake, fasting, silence, journaling, etc).. I appreciate how biblically saturated it was, the abundance of Puritan authors for illustrations and many specific applications. I also love his continual emphasis that the disciplines are for godliness and Christlikeness.. God is not against effort, only against earning (Willard). Loved it. So convicted and encouraged.
Since reading Donald Whitney's book on prayer last fall, I've been wanting to read his earlier book on spiritual disciplines. What I most loved about his book on prayer was that it was passionately practical, extremely straightforward, and ENCOURAGING. It approached the subject of prayer honestly, the fact that most Christians struggle--have struggled, will struggle--with prayer, with the act of daily prayer. It was a book that built-you-up and supported you. It was just a life-changing book. Sp ...more
Sep 01, 2015 Alexander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a "should read" for anyone wanting to grow in their relationship with God (the only true "must read" is the Word). Many of the disciplines are what you would expect to find in such a book (Bible intake, prayer, stewardship), but I was really challenged to think about several other disciplines that I had not given much thought to before (fasting and journaling).

While the "disciplines" (topics) presented here are well-chosen and presented, what makes this book a really valuable resource an
Feb 02, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
challenge to do what we believe

This is a well-written, biblically backed book on discipline. But that doesn't mean it's dry and dusty! No! This is an exciting invitation to pursue the great adventure of truly becoming like our dearest Love: to walk as He walked, to read as He read, to live as He lived. This is done,not by our on power, or by our own merit. Rather, this is entirely based in the gracious work already accomplished on our behalf through the death paid by Jesus on the cross. No amoun
Donald Linnemeyer
This is another one I didn't find all that helpful on the whole. While it has a good amount of helpful, practical tips on things like bible-reading and prayer, in the end the book always left me feeling either bored or guilty, and I’m still sorting through why. There’s a different tone to it – something colder and less impactful than a writer like Foster or Merton – but I’ve had trouble figuring out if it’s a stylistic difference, or if there’s a more substantial difference in how Whitney frames ...more
Apr 06, 2015 Madisson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
"...exercise [or discipline] yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." ~1 Timothy 4:7-8

Donald Whitney draws from the teachings left us by the early church fathers, the Puritan writers, and Jesus Christ Himself, teaching these disciplines:
- Scripture Reading
- Scripture Meditation
- Scripture Application
- Prayer
- Worship
- Evangelism
- Serving
- Stewardship
- Fast
Jan 07, 2013 Dmack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-christian
If you want to be a true follower of Christ and/or are looking for practical ways to follow His word in order to be a stronger more devout Christian than this is a must read. Not only does is clearly and easily go thru what the disciplines are but also gives practical applications on how to involve them in your life.
Jul 17, 2009 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-living, own
I started this book a couple of years ago and got sidetracked halfway through. When I picked it back up a few weeks ago, I wondered why it took me so long. This is a great little book to introduce a much overlooked topic in today's church culture. Whitney offers practical advice on how to get started.
Bob Priest
Aug 20, 2015 Bob Priest rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While in Bible College (30 years ago as a new believer) the Spiritual Disciplines were encouraged, even mandated. We were assigned how many chapters to read, how many times to read through the bible in what translations and with what study notes. We were to record weekly our church attendance, how much time we spent in organized ministry and with how many people we shared the gospel. I am not criticizing this because as a new believer I needed the accountability and discipline.

Enter Don Whitney
Nov 19, 2012 Connie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been reading/studying this for over a year now. Meeting with another monthly and doing the study using the study guide. Very convicting
Linda Joyner
Sep 04, 2014 Linda Joyner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It surprised me that I enjoyed this book so much. The spiritual disciplines are basic, but there is great depth in the explanation for each discipline. I enjoyed the examples taken from journals from a variety of people. Some were well-known to me, others were not.

I would recommend taking it slow and reading one discipline a week if it seems overwhelming. If not, read it straight through. I found it interesting enough to read straight through, but I took notes as I read and shared what I read wi
Ian Wilson
May 19, 2014 Ian Wilson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
This is a MUST read, re-read, and... re-read kind of book! ;)
Warren Moore
I need to post my paper on this book. Great read.
Graham Heslop
Aug 10, 2015 Graham Heslop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Jesus was the most disciplined man who ever lived and yet the most joyful and passionately alive. He is our example of discipline. Let us follow him to joy through the spiritual disciplines."

This book served me with numerous challenges. Almost every page revealed how deliberate discipline reaps not only godliness but Christian maturity and joy. My lack of discipline was also exposed as Whitney drew on the likes of Edwards, Brainerd, Spurgeon, Muller and Baxter, whose lives in many ways epitomis
Jan 26, 2016 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians who want a deeper walk with God
1Timothy 4:7 says that we are to "discipline ourselves for the purpose of Godliness." This book presents 10 disciplines for becoming godly or growing in holiness. I found this book to be very helpful in developing the disciplines necessary to grow a deeper faith in God and have a more intimate relationship with Jesus.

This book provided structure and practical advice for becoming discipline in faith. The disciplines discussed are: Bible reading, Prayer, Worship, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship,
Josh Pannell
The overall premise of this book is good: disciplining yourself for the purpose of godliness. This book does several things well:

First, it functions as a good reference tool.

Second, Whitney's desire for other believers to grow shines brightly through every word of this book.

Third, nothing mentioned in this book is harmful, and all is helpful for Christian growth.

However, the way the premise is worked out in these pages leave much to be desired.

First, the introduction clearly dichotomizes "biblic
Brett Mclaughlin
Nov 25, 2009 Brett Mclaughlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
This is one of those rare school-assigned readings that turned out to be quite good, and yet one I would almost never picked up on my own. Honestly, I've heard more than my fair share of teaching and preaching on Bible study, prayer, meditation, Scripture memory, and the like. I would say, heartily, "Ok, I get it."

Of course, I don't, and nobody else does either. But Whitney is a good author who allows Scripture to speak as much if not more than he does.

And the surprise -- the real value to this
Adam Shields
Jan 15, 2010 Adam Shields rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will write up a full review later. But this is one of the most useful, practical books on spiritual growth I have ever read. It is somewhat similar to Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, but I think a little more accessible and less intimidating. I am going to schedule some time to re-read it again in about six months. I will try to put into practice what I can now and plan on adding more later.

I have been reading through the "Ancient Practice Series" as well. And many of the same dis
Steve Hemmeke
Jul 05, 2010 Steve Hemmeke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book, getting a free download from

Very much in line with Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, it is a review of individual piety in Bible reading, prayer, worship, evangelism, serving, stewardship, fasting, silence and solitude, journaling, and learning. Whitney is careful to avoid obvious legalistic pitfalls, and gives good practical advice on each subject. But I found some of his subjects a stretch, especially getting Biblical support for journa
Aug 30, 2011 Zack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zack by: Josh Boyer
Donald Whitney does a great job of tackling a difficult subject with biblical truth and practical insight in his book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life. The topic of spiritual disciplines is not a popular one in most church circles today, and that is precisely why these churches are not impacting the world with the power of Christ. Spiritual disciplines are the God-ordained means of becoming more Christ-like. Whether it’s bible reading, prayer, journaling, or fasting, Godly people hav ...more
Dottie Parish
A small group I’m in studied this book over the course of a year. It’s an excellent book for this purpose or for individual study. The first chapter makes the point that spiritual disciplines are for the purpose of Godliness. In fact each discipline is for the purpose of Godliness.

Whitney includes two chapters on the discipline of Bible Intake and then chapters on Prayer, Worship, Evangelism, Serving, Stewardship, Fasting, Silence and Solitude, Journaling, Learning and Perseverance. Every chapt
Milton Quintanilla
So the book begins with a story about a boy who gets visited by an angel who shows the boy who he will be in the future as an excellent guitarist, which will come through practice. This leads Whitney to state that it's the same in the Christian life that we were predestined to be conformed to Christ, but that also comes with discipline.

The book it's centered on 1 Timothy 4:7 " discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness", and that discipline without direction is drudgery.

The book is spilt i
Nov 28, 2009 Bethy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-classes-swi
Read for my Discipleship class this semester. Excellent read for any Christian. Everything in Whitney's book centers around 1 Timothy 4:7, which says to, "discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness." He states that the purpose for the disciplines is to grow more in Christ-likeness, rather than accomplishing tasks or feeling good about oneself. He defines the disciplines and lists each one's benefits. He also makes helpful suggestions for practicing the disciplines. For example, he presents ...more
Nov 25, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, own
Really solid advice and introduction to the spiritual disciplines. Since starting this book about a month ago a lot has changed in my spiritual walk (good things). I can't say it's all a result of this book but it brought to my attention a lot of areas on my life that needed more spiritual discipline.

I listened to this as an audiobook and thought the narrator fit the book really well. The only downside I would say is sometimes his voice is kind of soothing and at times I would zone out while lis
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  • Disciplines of a Godly Man
  • The Discipline of Grace: God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness
  • Tempted and Tried: Temptation and the Triumph of Christ
  • A Hunger for God
  • A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers
  • Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure
  • Quest for Godliness
  • Overcoming Sin & Temptation
  • Holiness
  • Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change
  • Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books
  • Worldliness: Resisting the Seduction of a Fallen World
  • Eyes Wide Open: Enjoying God in Everything
  • The Bruised Reed
  • The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions
  • The Enemy Within: Straight Talk about the Power and Defeat of Sin
  • Biblical Eldership: An Urgent Call to Restore Biblical Churc
  • How People Change
DON WHITNEY has been Professor of Biblical spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY, since 2005. Before that, he held a similar position (the first such position in the six Southern Baptist seminaries) at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO, for 10 years. He is the founder and president of The Center for Biblical Spiritua ...more
More about Donald S. Whitney...

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“Can we expect the flames of our worship of God to burn brightly in public on the Lord’s Day when they barely flicker for Him in secret on other days?” 4 likes
“And in my own pastoral and personal Christian experience, I can say that I’ve never known a man or woman who came to spiritual maturity except through discipline. Godliness comes through discipline.” 3 likes
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