Okay, somehow when I ordered this book I missed that it was on fasting. Ooops! The book is titled Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting, and Spiritual Freedom is subtitled 21 Days to Revolutionize Your Relationship with God. The book is a short and quick read (about only 150 pages for the book itself, then it follows with 21 daily devotionals), but definitely worth the time.
Weems puts a lot of time into developing what he terms the “awakening experience” and laying the groundwork for the need for a 21 day fast. He also does an excellent job – perhaps the best I’ve read yet (and I’ve read a lot) – on the difference between fasting under the Old Covenant in the OT and the New Covenant in the NT. His final conclusion is spot on: we fast not to get something from God but to draw closer to Him, and a reminder that God is a filler, not a forcer, but in order for God to fill something we need to first create a void which needs to be filled.
One of the highlights of the book is that each chapter (there are only 12) ends with “An Awakening Story”, or a personal testimony from someone who has undertaken the 21 day fast and grown as a result of it. Some of the stories were the predictable, miraculous ones one would expect, but others were more down-to-earth. But all were a reminder that God does work in peoples’ lives in miraculous ways. The only point of contention I might have with Weems is the huge emphasis he places in the book on the importance of feelings in our walk with God. Too often feeling are deceiving, and I got the impression at several times that it would be easy to mis-interpret or mis-understand what Weems is saying about following our feelings to justify getting off-track. But this is a minor issue, and, when viewed through what he says in the rest of the book regarding following the Word of God and setting up boundaries, I believe it would be a gross misrepresentation to twist his emphasis on feelings to justify sin.
One area I wish he would have spent more time in would be when he actually defines and describes beginning a fast. Weems does a fantastic job for the first 124 pages of establishing the need for prayer, fasting, and Bible study, but then devotes only 20 pages to actually describing the 21 day fast in any detail and only 7 pages actually going into detail about types of fasts and actually deciding how to fast. Over all, I’ll give this book 4/5 stars.
One disclaimer, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, but am not required to post a complimentary review in exchange for it.