Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Fasting

I've been curious about fasting for some time, knowing it’s a spiritual discipline practiced in the Bible and throughout history, but the reasoning behind it is something I haven’t been able to grasp. It always sounded to me as if people were saying that if I sincerely wanted something from God, fasting was the way to get it. That sounded somewhat selfish or manipulative to me, so, from that point of view, I was hesitant to practice fasting.

In his book, Fasting, however, Scot McKnight has made things clearer for me. McKnight defines fasting this way:

"Fasting is the natural, inevitable response of a person to a grievous sacred moment in life."

In other words, when something happens that grieves you and that you know grieves God as well, fasting is the natural response. Some people eat extra when they grieve. Others stop eating altogether. Fasting is much like the latter, only when you fast, you are grieving with God as you plea for Him to make things right and trust His Will, regardless of His response. On p. 168, McKnight says, "Perhaps what we need to become deeper in fasting is bigger eyes and bigger hearts . . . greater sensitivity to the plight of others and the grievousness of life’s sacred moments." He portrays fasting as a compassionate response.

McKnight explains this in depth, showing how fasting is also a prayer of the whole self, involving the physical with the mental and spiritual. He shows how fasting is practiced biblically and how it has been practiced traditionally. He also explores problems, misunderstandings, and dangers associated with fasting to provide the reader with essential wisdom and advice.

This book was truly helpful to me. For a greater understanding of this ancient practice, I recommend this book to you. Thank you, Thomas Nelson, for sending it for my review.

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