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Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  30,546 ratings  ·  887 reviews
Richard J. Foster’s Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth is hailed by many as the best modern book on Christian spirituality with millions of copies sold since its original publication in 1978.

In Celebration of Discipline, Foster explores the "classic Disciplines," or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith to show how each of these areas
Hardcover, Special 20th Anniversary Edition, 256 pages
Published October 5th 1988 by HarperOne (first published July 1st 1978)
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For years I had followed traditional Christian writings and practices, growing ever more disenchanted with the hollowness of the experience. In my private readings I'd immersed myself in wider and deeper worlds, searching, searching.

In 1984 I was doing some training in Estes Park and went to hear Amy Grant at the YMCA of the Rockies. I wanted to hear her do Angels Watching Over Me in person, and that done, I browsed the bookstore before heading back to my cabin.

This book, recently published at
Jan 01, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian-life
I have mixed feelings about Celebration of Discipline. On one hand, I struggled with Foster’s subjective terminology and mystic approach. At times I found myself wondering exactly what he meant, and in turn wondering whether I would agree with him if I discovered exactly what he meant. Part of this is a difference theological emphasis, but I suspect it also comes down to a difference in personality. Some people like objective descriptions of neat and tidy concepts (like me), whereas others ...more
Dec 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy

I first read this book in 1996 and loved it. I re-read it in 2005 and got even more out of it the second time. The book is inspiring and is a good reminder of the way I can have a more Christ-centered life through discipline.

Foster deals first with the inward disciplines: meditation, prayer, fasting, study. Then, he moves on to the outward disciplines: simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. The
Dec 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I listened to this book on Audible to and from work every day. While the first few chapters actually taught me a lot, I struggled to to maintain focus through the second half of the book.

A couple reasons for this:

1) I think I should have read a physical copy of this book. I KNOW I struggle to maintain focus listening to audio books if they aren't fast-paced and engaging. So the fact I thought I'd maintain focus on this was an error on my part.

2) The second half of the book really didn't teach
Classic twentieth-century guide to a deeper inner life and joy. As the title implies, discipline is not negative but positive. Foster explores twelve approaches to inner, outer and corporate discipline.

Gets better with every reading. In fact, I didn't get half of what Foster had to offer my first time through.
Jul 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: devotional
Although influenced by Dallas Willard (prior to his publication of The Spirit of the Disciplines), Richard J. Foster uses a different taxonomy in Celebration of Discipline than Willard uses in his book (Disciplines of Abstinence (solitude, silence, fasting, frugality, chastity, secrecy, sacrifice) and Disciplines of Engagement (study, worship, celebration, service, prayer, fellowship, confession, submission) (p. 158)). Foster’s division of spiritual disciplines is a trinity of Inward Individual ...more
Brian Ming
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just finished this gem. Although it's taken me some time to get through (due to such a busy schedule), I was disciplined enough to stick with it...See what I did there by celebrating my discipline. In all seriousness, I am very glad I read this book. In particular the sections on worship, on meditation, and especially on the celebration of joy are fabulous.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is seeking to go deeper with God. Surprisingly, even though our culture seems emphatic about
Aug 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
So, in establishing my "goodreads" library, I thought it was wise to begin with a book that has served to inform, as well as transform my character. What better place to start than with Foster's classic. Certainly, a must read for any believer, but especially important for those of us who call ourselves "leaders" in the church. This book establishes the starting point for true leadership...learning to place ourselves in God's presence where he can begin to do the work of transformation in us. ...more
Elisabeth Ensor
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The best book of 2017 for me!!!! I read this all year with 2 friends- taking each month to study a discipline and we discussed them over an app called Voxer. This book was life changing- the chapter on prayer and fasting especially. I recommend the audio book as you can stop and listen again and write it down if you want. The author has so much wisdom and I will read this again for sure!
Read this book in conjunction with a small group discussion over a long period. An amazing work, full of important insightful practices.
Ellie Sorota
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-nonfiction
Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline reads like a cup of strong coffee - pleasant going down, but rather rattling once it enters the stomach. Each chapter focuses on a different discipline of the Christian life, and Foster is quick to offer snippets of his own attempts (failures & successes) in practicing the disciplines. With each discipline he presents both the practical and radical methods of practice. For example, the fasting chapter begins with an argument on the prudence of ...more
Christopher M.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
A very solid, very practical introduction to Christian discipleship. Foster spends a chapter celebrating twelve spiritual disciplines, which he divides up into the Inward (meditation, prayer, fasting, study), Outward (simplicity, solitude, submission, service), and Corporate (confession, worship, guidance, celebration) Disciplines. Each of these chapters is well-founded and borrows from a wide variety of Christian sources from across time and tradition.

There is a good amount of flow from
David Woods
Foster discusses 12 spiritual disciplines. He doesn't waste words. The chapters were succinct, and I found myself underlining often. Great tidbits and suggestions and logistical how-to's as well as discussing the scriptural bases for the disciplines and the fruit that can come as a result. Ultimately, the disciplines in themselves are nothing, but they are various ways to present ourselves before God so that he can bring about spiritual transformation in our lives. Grace is free, but we do have ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
I had forgotten how much of an impression this book had made on me in college, when I worked through it with a small group of friends. We read each chapter and then set out that week to put them into practice in a deliberate and specific way. It was pretty awesome and life-changing, actually. I didn't realize how much of an effect it had upon my personal theology until I just re-read it for a class.

Overall, an awesome book. He gives a very balanced, non-legalistic approach to the disciplines.
Kathleen Kurlin
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the greatest books I have ever read on the subject of spiritual discipline. I am only halfway through this book so far, but I can't believe all that I've learned so far. I am in a class at my church and we are using this book for our year-long class. I can't wait to finish reading this book. I look forward to applying all the principles I'm reading about in this book to my daily life and walk with God. Great, great book!
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Josette, Mary
This book is potentially life changing. Thanks to those of you who recommended it to me.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone, everyone
Recommended to Jason by: Bible study book
Shelves: 2015, self-help
To be clear I'm not your conventional Christian, so bear that in mind if you go any further, and please forgive any irreverence. I suppose many would say I'm not a Christian at all, but luckily all that is between me and God and not His other children. As with most things, I plan to take what I can use from this and leave the rest. Thankfully there is plenty I can use. I found it inspiring, plan to reread it, and will probably find other parts inspiring that didn't speak to me this time. I read ...more
Jana Light
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual
This is a wonderful book outlining the Christian spiritual practices (disciplines), offering guidance in how to participate in them, and celebrating their importance and the spiritual benefits they confer. Foster breaks the disciplines into three categories: inward, outward, and corporate (or collective). While any talk about what to "do" for spiritual health can quickly devolve into legalism and shame, Foster emphasizes grace and the idea that God gave us these disciplines as blessings and ...more
Carla Corinne
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Took me a while to get through this, but it was a great, helpful book. I loved learning about the "disciplines", especially at a time in my life when I am trying to curb my habits and routines to become more disciplined in every area. I definitely did not agree with some things he wrote and his theology was a bit skewed, leaning towards mysticism at times. I know there are a few sections I will refer to again and again in the future. 4 stars!
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I imagine I will be revisiting this book frequently!
Crystal Storms
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! A book I will read again and refer back to.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Foster manages to communicate the value and necessity of the spiritual disciplines in a way that is both convicting and graceful. I also appreciate that he is always going back to the Scriptures to back up his claims, while also citing a wide variety of other texts (which has given me more books to add to my list).
Would absolutely recommend this to believers who feel that they don't practice/fully understand spiritual discipline (like myself), as well as new believers who are ready to grow
Leandro Guimarães
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: doar
I really loved this book when I was a Neoevangelical. But then I grew Reformed, and it helped me that I ended up pinpointing what so discomfitted me when first reading it: its emphasys on mystical disciplines deviate from Scriptures and end up deemphasysing grace in favour of a focus on works.

Not that it cannot be read with profit. We sure can benefit of spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, meditation &c. But we have to be aware, for example when it deviates from Biblical
Lyn Mahler
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a Christian classic, a basic how-to for drawing close to God and deepening your spiritual life. Love the way it is written and the principles outlined are very helpful and practical.
Kyle Mervau
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you are looking for a practical study into the disciplines with a bend towards spiritual formation...I would start here!
Timothy Bariteau
Apr 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Christians, pastors, students, lay leaders, spiritually minded people
Let me begin by saying I am so grateful I read Richard J. Foster’s "CELEBRATION OF DISCIPLINE: The Path to Spiritual Growth". I have always liked reading and currently have a LONG list of books on my “to read” shelf. However, if this book had not been "assigned reading", I doubt I would have ever picked it up. How much I would have missed out! I am excited to say this little book has become one of my all-time favorites; rapidly moving its way up my “Top Ten” book list...before my eyes even ...more
Orlando Clavijo
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
great book

I heard of this type of literature from a special woman I once had in my life.She would read these scriptures to me late at night and sometimes in the mornings sitting on her white coach while drinking coffee and the suns Ray's shining thru the back window of the room where we shared beautiful times.Well Some how I had this impression that this book would be too deep for me to comprehend. The truth is this book is completely accessible to everyone. The language is simple and teachings
Alex Adkins
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
“Discipline is the liberation from the slavery of self-interest and fear” - this statement by Foster in the first few pages shook me to the core and I ruminated on this idea throughout each chapter. What a phenomenal novel with immense scripture backing up each discipline. The inward disciplines in the novel that Foster speaks about challenged me the most. Foster goes into the vital nuanced differences of meditation v. Prayer v. Study, three of which seem to be blended today. Furthermore, foster ...more
Noah Meyer
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every Christian should read this book! Foster takes a closer look at each of the Spiritual Disciplines in attempt to show his readers not only what the Western Church has lost, but how it can be regained. How every Christian individual can find freedom (and thereby celebration) in clinging to disciplines given to us from God, bringing us into closer fellowship with Him and with each other. How many of us feel sincerely transformed and renewed everyday? In trying to make sense of our lacking, we ...more
Michael Lumsdaine
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gave a fantastic look into a balanced Christian life and how to reach it. Its good organization makes it easy to look back on again and again to study the spiritual disciplines. I have grown a lot through reading this, but feel as though it would be more fitting to read it over a year to really take in and put into action its instruction. The twelve disciplines spoken of in this book are all important to Christian life and growth. Richard Foster gives a good, thoughtful, God focused ...more
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Richard J. Foster is the author of several bestselling books, including Celebration of Discipline, Streams of Living Water, and Prayer, which was Christianity Today's Book of the Year and the winner of the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. He is the founder of Renovaré, an intrachurch movement committed to the renewal of the Church in all her multifaceted ...more
“The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” 77 likes
“We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. 'We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.' ...It is time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.” 58 likes
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