Richard Foster Quotes

Richard Foster

Richard J. Foster is a Christian theologian and author in the Quaker tradition. His writings speak to a broad Christian audience. He has been a professor at Friends University and pastor of Evangelical Friends churches. Foster resides in Denver, Colorado.

Foster is best known for his 1978 book Celebration of Discipline (ISBN 0-06-062839-1), which examines the inward disciplines of prayer, fasting, meditation, and study in the Christian life, the outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission, and service, and the corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance, and celebration. It has sold over one million copies. It was named by Christianity Today as one of the top ten books of the twentieth century.

“We are working with God to determine the future! Certain things will happen in history if we pray rightly. We are to change the world by prayers.”

-Richard Foster

“In our day heaven and earth are on tiptoe waiting for the emerging of a Spirit-led, Spirit-empowered people. All of creation watches expectantly for the springing up of a disciplined, freely gathered, martyr people who know in this life the life and power of the kingdom of God. It has happened before. It can happen again…”

-Richard Foster

“So how do we pray in Jesus’ name, that is, in conformity to his nature?  Jesus himself says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7).  This “abide in me” is the all-inclusive condition for effective intercession.  It is the key for prayer in the name of Jesus.  We learn to become like the branch, which receives its life from the vine: “Abide in me as I abide in you.  Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).  Nothing is more important to a life of prayer than learning how to become a branch.”   

-Richard Foster

“Nothing is more crucial to our lives or more central to the heart of God than the transformation of the human personality.  Paul, that great advocate of human transformation, once spoke of being “in travail until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).  And in another letter he says, “Those whom God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29)

-Richard Foster

“Superficiality is the curse of our age.  The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem.  The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.”     

—Richard Foster

“The tongue is our most powerful weapon of manipulation. A frantic stream of words flows from us because we are in a constant process of adjusting our public image. We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding. If I have done some wrong thing (or even some right thing that I think you may misunderstand) and discover that you know about it, I will be tempted to help you understand my action. Silence is one of the deepest disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on all self-justification. One of the fruits of silence is the freedom to let God be our justifier. We don’t need to straighten others out.”

-Richard J. Foster

“Lust imprisons the other person…the end result of lust is dehumanization, in which the important thing is not the person but possessing that person.”

-Richard Foster (The challenge of the Disciplined life p.14)

“Lust captivates rather than emancipates, devours rather than nourishes.”

-Richard Foster

“All who have walked with God have viewed prayer as the main business of their lives.”

-Richard Foster Celebration of Discipline

“Whereas the study of Scripture centers on exegesis, the meditation of Scripture centers on internalizing and personalizing the passage. The written Word becomes a living word addressed to you. This is not a time for technical studies, or analysis, or even the gathering of factual material to share with others. Set aside all tendencies toward arrogance and with a humble heart receive the word addressed to you.   Often I find kneeling especially appropriate for this particular time.”

-Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline) 

“The heart of God is an open wound of Love.  He aches over our distance and preoccupation.  He mourns that we do not spend time with Him.  He weeps over our obsession with much-ness and many-ness.  He longs for our presence.”


-Richard Foster

“The focus of God’s activity is not center-stage but backstage, in the insignificant moments we often cast aside. “No moment is trivial,” Precious moments, how small, the means whereby I receive small things from the Father who reigns in heaven! Everything that falls from there is very excellent, everything bears the mark of its maker.” Why this need to focus our attention on these small corners of life that come to us minute by minute? Because it is there that who we truly are comes to the surface. In the big events—when we are on public display—we can hide what is inside fairly well, and even in the intimacy of our families we can put on a good front for some time; but in the unguarded moment, the true self will surface. And once we can face, before God, who we truly are, we have stepped onto the path of grace that leads to conformity to the image of Christ. But the courage to face the inner monsters takes a faith and trust in God that many of us do not possess (or don’t want to possess), and so we busy ourselves with muchness and manyness and undertake our colossal enterprises to avoid looking inside.”

-Richard Foster, (Introduction to the Sacrament of the Present Moment)

 “Spiritual disciplines place us before God and God changes us.”

-Richard Foster

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