A Woman's Guide to Fasting, by Lisa E. Nelson - Book Review

The spiritual discipline of fasting has always fascinated me, but in actual practice, all it had left me with is crankiness, weakness, and irritability.   Until recently.  Lisa Nelson’s book A Woman’s Guide to Fasting is the best material I have ever read on why and how to fast as a spiritual discipline. She explains that the point of fasting as a spiritual discipline is not necessarily giving up food. The purpose is to give up something good and acceptable because you want more of God.  When you take the legalistic aspect out of fasting and replace it with the heart, the spiritual discipline of fasting becomes a tool that God uses to transform you. 

Lisa Nelson explains that fasting is not a transaction, nor a way to work a deal with God. It’s not acting like a spoiled kid refusing to eat until we get what we want. It’s not a reward system where we try to earn the answers to our prayers.  Rather, fasting is declaring God is more important. It is the pathway to humility before Him. It’s about letting Him work on our hearts as we seek hard after Him.  She provides the following reasons to fast:
·         To help us grow spiritually and overcome sin
·         To empower our intercession and petitioning
·         To prepares us for spiritual warfare
·         As an expression of obedience to God’s call
·         As a response to a crisis in our lives.

In this practical book, Lisa Nelson explains the purposes of a fast and the types of fasts. You may have medical reasons or other reasons to not do a water-only fast, but there are lots of other effective options.   She repeatedly explains that it’s all about the heart, not the letter of the law. 

She also explains both physically and spiritually what to do while fasting, how to prepare for a fast, how to end a fast, and the effects of a fast.  In addition, she also explains the physical and spiritual aspects that happen during a fast -- what to expect, how to cope, and how to listen to God through His Word.  Whether you have health issues to consider, are a busy mom, or have an active schedule, Lisa Nelson offers realistic advice on how to work an effective fast into your life.

After reading this book, I started incorporating fasting into my life as a regular discipline and I am finding that my prayers are more focused and my heart is more submissive to God’s will. God is using it as a tool in my life to strengthen and empower me.

Except for the pretty cover, I see no reason why this book should be a guide for women only.  If you never thought of trying to fast as a spiritual discipline, this book will inspire you and give you ideas on how to make yourself available to God for a more intimate walk with Him.  If you ever tried fasting and felt like it failed or was meaningless, this book will give you all the information and encouragement you need to try it again.

Bethany House provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


  1. This sounds like a good book for all Christians to read. I am a strong advocate for fasting. In fact, I just finished a blog post on fasting today. I have practiced fasting for over twenty years and I have been fasting at least one day a week for almost four years now. It is not only spiritually healthy, but physically as well.

  2. Paula, thanks so much for this thoughtful review. I edited the book, and it's wonderful to hear how it has been helpful in your relationship with God, especially when fasting wasn't always a good experience for you.

  3. Interesting, another means to transformation..and you're right why only for women ?

  4. I agree with Jeff. I think the message of this book is good for anyone, and I think your review was very good.

  5. nice post thank you for sharing loves...soraya