Before I read A Woman’s Guide to Fasting by Lisa E Nelson (Bethany House), I had never partaken in a fast. Truthfully, the reasons and benefits of fasting were a little lost on me. I had a hazy understanding of denying my physical needs to strengthen my spirit, communing with God during normal meal times, etc. but no true understanding of the process, reasons, or benefits were clear until I got a hold of this gem of a book.
Lisa begins with a thorough explanation of exactly what fasting is – “a spiritual tool for spiritual growth.” (p.12) She then goes deeper and explains five reasons why God commands us to fast: 1) Spiritual growth and overcoming sin. 2) Empower intercession. 3) Preparation for spiritual warfare. 4) Obedience to God’s call. 5) Response to a crisis. In addition to fleshing out these reasons, in the next chapter, Lisa confronts some reasons why not to fast. In a nutshell, fasting is not a magic trick to make God love you, but it can be a tool to put you in a place of obedience to Him. The rest of the book is made up of quality advice on how to begin, follow through, and break a fast.
I really appreciate the depth of analysis, thought, and tangible guidance presented in this conversational book. I definitely give A Woman’s Guide to Fasting five stars. It is a must read for any woman who is interested in this spiritual discipline.
Disclaimer: I received A Woman’s Guide to Fasting by Lisa E. Nelson at no cost from Bethany House in return for an honest review. My opinion is my own.
What I like most about this guide to Fasting is that the focus isn’t totally on the “how to” but she strongly stresses the important of knowing that God has called you to a fast. Being led by the Holy Spirit is vital in fasting because a breakthrough in your walk with Christ is what is to be accomplished.
Even if I don’t use this book solely as a guide to fasting, its a valuable tool in learning to get closer to God in the off-season of fasting.
A Woman’s Guide to Fasting isn’t an “over-your-head” kind of read. Lisa is practical, pointed and speaks in terms that are easy to understand without talking down to or condemning the reader. She’s gentle in her step by step guidance.
The author, Lisa Nelson, is a just a regular Christian, definitely not Lutheran, former Army JAG officer. She lays out the types of fasts one can do, the reasons for fasting, and what you need to know to be successful in your fast. But she does all this with the constant reminder that failing isn't failing God and one is not required to fast to be a Christian. It's remarkably guilt free. She even includes her own struggles with fasting. Perfection is not required.
There's still an air of the mystical that brings out my skeptical nature. And I'm not sure I'll be starting a fast anytime soon. (Besides this is the time for feasting which can be detrimental to any fast.) But I'm willing to be more open to the possibility.
However, the one thing I'll take from the book regardless of spiritual discipline is the following line:
Lisa E Nelson has written a wonderful book to guide women through the maze of fasting as a spiritual discipline. I absolutely loved this book and would highly recommend it to every PERSON out there. Not just women. However it is a nice book to share with a few close girlfriends.
Lisa offers women an easy to read and easy to put to practice approach to fasting. She tackles common questions, concerns and worries that I know have been on my mind. I have never fasted before this book and I wil definitely be doing it after.
Lisa is not legalistic or suggest in any way that I would be a better Christian if I did this. Instead she dives into the heart of God and how we can follow after it in many different ways. Fasting is just one of them. But I must add that this book did more for my entire spiritual walk than just specifically for the idea of fasting. Lisa is an encourager. She did a fabulous job of encouraging me in every aspect of my journey of faith.
Her writing style is relaxed and soothing. It feels like having a coffee with Lisa at a quaint little tea house. She fills each of her points with abundant scriptures. You become friends with her before you finish the book. She shares a lot of insight from her own life. I particularly loved her section on the experience of 9-11 and how her husband and family was affected that day and how God used fasting to call her spirit into prayer. Very powerful!
Pick up this book. It is a must read! You won't regret it.
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my HONEST review. I am not required to give a positive response.
I have never fasted before, but Lisa Nelson has definitely put a new light on fasting for me. She made a statement that 24 hour fasting is our choice, but that any longer comes from God. To me, that makes perfect sense.
This book is a great how-to for anyone who has never fasted before, myself included. She gives insight into several areas including, when to fast, how long to fast, how to prepare yourself both spiritually and mentally, what to do during a fast, etc...
I appreciate the fact that she says that those who fast aren't necessarily spiritually better than those who haven't. Fasting isn't a spiritual discipline that I grew up with, yet I know that my parents are very godly people. This was a challenge to me to think about doing. She also says that it's not necessarily going to come easy. We struggle with other spiritual disciplines, so why would fasting be any different. I'm thankful for a book that spells out how to fast so easily. I've read some other fasting articles, but never read anything that makes it very clear cut, as well as from a woman's perspective.
Nelson says that "fasting satisfies the desire of our hearts: to know and walk intimately with God." Fasting makes time for God in our busy lives. If we don't make time, then our walk with Him gets neglected, which moves other idols in the way of where God should be. This is an excellent book and I highly recommend it to anyone, female teen or adult who is thinking of fasting.
I haven't fasted in a long time - and have never fasted for a long time (as in more than a day). I think for about ten years, I had the excuse that I couldn't fast because I was pregnant or nursing. Then I starting feeling like maybe my motives were not right. I think that I, along with many, sometimes have erroneously regarded fasting in Ghandi-fashion, as a hunger-strike of sorts against God - a way to manipulate Him to answer my prayers. Another error it's easy to fall into is legalism - somehow thinking I'm better because I fast. In order to avoid errors, I pretty much decided not to fast at all. But I can't escape the fact that Jesus fasted and he also said "When you fast" in the gospels, not "if you fast."
So when I got the opportunity to review this book, I decided it was time to revisit the idea of fasting.
Lisa Nelson does a great job of discussing the subject - addressing the very issues I felt were problematic in the chapter "Should You Fast?". There is NO legalism in this book. It is written in a very humble way with lots of practical advice for everything from a one-day fast to a forty day fast. The author also deals with aspects of our spiritual lives like dealing with temptation, journaling, etc. My only criticism is that the author didn't address the subject of exercise during fasting. It really seemed like an oversight.
"A Woman's Guide to Fasting" is a quick, easy read, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is considering adding the discipline of fasting to their life.
An indispensable must have guide that covers everything pertaining to fasting. Laced throughout are bible passages that correspond to the subject being discussed. A lot of information is well presented and I took my time in reading and reflecting. I have fasted for a few years now and what I know in reading this book is that this book will greatly enhance my fasting experience! Some key points I found personally beneficial were: how to prepare for a successful fast, non food fasts, how to better incorporate prayer during a fast and how to forgive but there are so many more pertinent topics presented here as well! Every reader can take the authors experiences and advice and apply them to their own personal journey. This book will be excellent to read again before during and after my own fasts especially longer ones. Very well written and researched! I received this book for free from Bethany House Publishers for this review.
Every page of Lisa Nelson's book, A Woman's Guide to Fasting, is a delight. The author stresses God's grace and desire for intimacy with every believer through the practice of spiritual disciplines, including fasting, taking all holier-than-thou legalism from the mix. I particularly enjoy Mrs. Nelson's stories of God at work in her life before, during and after her innumerable fasts. Her practical advice is excellent as well. This book is an absolute treat in that, it makes me want a closer relationship with God... really, that should be the criteria for all Christian books, shouldn't it? I highly recommend this this excellent book.