Celebration of Discipline
by Richard J. Foster

Celebration of Discipline

Since its publication in 1978, Celebration of Discipline has helped millions of seekers discover a richer spiritual life infused with joy, peace, and a deeper understanding of God.

Hailed by many as the best modern book ever written on Christian spirituality and described by Christianity Today as one of the ten best books of the twentieth century, Celebration of Discipline explores the classic “Disciplines,” or central spiritual practices, of the Christian faith. Along the way, Richard J. Foster shows that it is only by and through these practices that we can find the true path to spiritual growth.

Dividing the Disciplines into three movements of the Spirit, Foster shows how each movement contributes to a balanced spiritual life. The inward Disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting, and study offer avenues for personal examination and change. The outward Disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service prepare us to help make the world a better place. The corporate Disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration bring us nearer to one another and to God.

Foster provides a wealth of examples demonstrating how the Disciplines can become part of our daily activities–and how they can help us shed our superficial habits and “bring the abundance of God into our lives.” He offers crucial new insights, demonstrating how the biblical view of the Disciplines, properly understood and applied, brings joy and balance to our inward and outward lives and “sets us free.” Celebration, often the most neglected of the Disciplines, is revealed as critically important, for it stands at the heart of the way to Christ. Featuring an introduction in which Foster shares the story of how this beloved and enduring guidebook for the soul came to be, Celebration of Discipline will help motivate Christians everywhere to embark on a journey of prayer and spiritual growth.

Four Distinctives

The classic Spiritual Disciplines Richard Foster names in Celebration of Discipline—meditation, prayer, fasting, study, simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance, and celebration—are timeless. They have been practiced by people of the Book—Jewish and Christian—for centuries, and they continue to be essential for a full life in the kingdom. Their practice prepares us “to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done,” and, as we integrate them, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” overcome us (Gal. 5:22).

Richard not only names the classic Disciplines of the spirit, but makes them accessible to us through his simple yet profound writing. We don’t need a college education to understand why we should do them and how to get started. He emphasizes that they are for everyone—not just the religious or clergy—and that we can do the Disciplines right now, right where we are, smack in the middle of our jobs and our families, our churches, and our communities.

In Celebration Richard also prompts us to be intentional about our Christian life, giving us something to do by working with God on our spiritual growth rather than by simply sitting on our hands and waiting for God to rescue us from a world gone bad. To be intentional about practicing the Disciplines is to do them—knowing that we change incrementally, not in giant leaps—and to be persistent—recognizing that spiritual growth takes time.

Lastly, Celebration of Discipline is full of grace. We are not condemned for trying and failing. We are not even made to feel guilty if we don’t try. Richard introduces us to the Disciplines in a way that makes us want to incorporate them into our lives so that we can become like Christ. He leads us to be proactive rather than reactive; we learn to train rather than merely to try. Won’t you join me as I continue to study Celebration and to do the Disciplines?

–Lynda L. Graybeal, co-author of the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Guides


Other Comments

“Like a child exploring the attic of an old house on a rainy day, discovering a trunk full of treasure and then calling all his brothers and sisters to share the find, Richard J. Foster has ‘found’ the Spiritual Disciplines that the modern world stored away and forgot, and has excitedly called us to celebrate them. For they are, as he shows us, the instruments of joy, the way into mature Christian spirituality and abundant life.”

–Eugene H. Peterson, author of The Message


“Richard Foster has given us a rare gift . . .the celebration of each Discipline in this book hands us a tool that can be useful in helping us to integrate our inner and outer lives.”

–Marcrina Wiederkehr, author of A Tree Full of Angels


“The best modern book on Christian spirituality . . . No other book apart from the Bible has been so helpful to me in the nurturing of my inward journey of prayer and spiritual growth.”

–Ronald J. Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action