Every now and then, it’s nice to read a book with a terribly prosperity style theology. It’s like candy; good sometimes, but if you took a steady diet of this stuff you’d be fat. Funny to think about – having a fat theology because of too much health, wealth and prosperity theology.
My treat of choice this time around was Jentezen Franklin’s little book, Fasting: Opening the Door to a Deeper, More Intimate, More Powerful Relationship with God. I picked it up because I was about to preach on fasting from Matthew’s gospel and I noticed that my practice of fasting totally sucked. I rarely fasted and when I did, I was a cranky mess. I wasn’t suffering nearly as much as the people who had to put up with me!
Theological bent aside, Franklin’s book is quality and it is comprehensive. It’s super practical and has a thorough treatment of fasting with lots of scripture and helpful medical science to aid people in their practice of fasting. It was helpful to me individually, and helpful as I was teaching on Jesus’ practices of fasting. It’s not exactly a literary masterpiece; you probably won’t be pulling out some quotes for your next tattoo, but it gets the job done
The only thing I still am working through about fasting is the motivation issues. I don’t feel like we should fast just to get what we want or to put more pressure on God to act in a way that we ask him too. It’s the same kind of thinking I am doing about prayer. At a baseline though, Jesus commands prayer and fasting – so the reasons are moot, the practice is entirely Christian.
Here’s some fun sentences from this book:
p.3, “When God has placed a dream inside you that only He can make possible, you need to fast and pray.”
p.9, “Stated simply, biblical fasting is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. Fasting has always been a normal part of a relationship with God.”
p.36, “There may be days when heaven opens and your heart is prompted to deep times of prayer. But there may be other days when your energy is sapped and you just cannot seem to focus in prayer at all. Don’t condemn yourself. God sees your sacrifice.”
p.72, “There are dimensions of our glorious King that will never be revealed to the casual, disinterested worshiper. There are walls of intercession that will never be scaled by dispassionate religious service. but when you take steps to break out of the ordinary and worship Him as He deserves, you will begin to see facets of His being you never knew existed. He will begin to share secrets with you about Himself, his plans, His desires for you. When you worship God as He deserves, He is magnified.”
p.81, “Hungry people are desperate people, and they are hungry for more of God than they have ever had.”
p.83, “In this day, God is saying, ‘I’m looking for somebody who wants something. I’m looking for somebody who will do more than show up, but they will hunger for that which I want to place in them!'”
p.125, “Fasting helps you separate what you want from what you need.”
p.182, “I want you to understand that you are not ‘twisting God’s arm’ when you go on a fast. You are not going to make God do anything He does not want to do. What you are actually doing is positioning yourself and preparing your heart for what is to come. If you are willing to seek Him, He will be willing to give.”