Toolkit for Spiritual Growth: A Practical Guide to Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving
by Fr. Evan Armatas
Are you a new Orthodox Christian, confused about what you need to do to grow in your Faith? Or perhaps you've been Orthodox for some time but could use a refresher course in basic spirituality. Popular podcaster Fr. Evan Armatas explains the fundamentals of the three-legged stool of Orthodox practice - prayer, almsgiving, and fasting - in terms that everyone can understand and implement. Let Fr. Evan help you establish your life in Christ on a firm footing.
About the Author: Fr. Evan Armatas is a parish priest in Colorado, where he has served for over eighteen years. He has directed summer camps, served on national boards, and hosts a live call-in radio show on Ancient Faith Radio, Orthodoxy Live. He speaks around the country on various topics. Fr. Evan and his wife, Presbytera Anastasia, are the happy parents of four, Alexia, Eleni, Maria, and Spyridon. They live in beautiful Fort Collins, Colorado, where they ski, fly fish, and hike.
Author: Fr. Evan Armatas
Publisher: Ancient Faith Publishing
Paperback at Ancient Faith Store
LOOK INSIDE... Toolkit for Spiritual Growth: A Practical Guide to Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving
It doesn't get any more practical
Posted by Unknown on Dec 4th 2020
Father Evan Armatas's Toolkit for Spiritual Growth is A Practical Guide precisely as the subtitle indicates. His style is easy, clean, orderly, and to the point. You won't get lost in complex theology or nitpicking. If you have ever been frustrated by an article, book, or sermon which urges you to pursue some virtue without telling you how, this book is for you. His insights and directions arise from his lay and priestly parish experiences as well as his connection to the monastic world. The text on praying, almsgiving, and fasting expresses classic Orthodox practice whose context is essentially liturgical and communal. Although the book is brief, it does not reduce any of the spiritual disciplines to a cookie-cutter approach. Fr. Evan points out that prayer is our response to Jesus' invitation to union with Him, His Father and the Holy Spirit, requiring more than personal fantasies and opinions. He describes how to proceed with heart, mind, and body by asking God to restore us to the proper direction and focus through communal and personal prayer in a dedicated prayer corner at home (details about furnishings and procedures included).
When it comes to charity or almsgiving, the practice is simple and clear: everything a person has comes from God. In order to love God and one's neighbor (especially those we prefer to ignore or don't want to see), there must be grateful sharing with the needy, homeless, and hungry. That giving involves writing checks, using credit cards, stocking community and church pantries, and face-to-face service. The inherent blessing is mutual for the giver and the receiver.
Fr. Evan's closing chapter drops fasting loudly and solidly in the middle of our Orthodox plates! The Lord Jesus' own fasting for forty days sets the undeniable example and necessity for the biblical practice of fasting. Fasting disciplines the body, mind, and soul, once again reminding us that we worship God not just with thoughts and prayers but also with our material bodies. The four fasting times of the year are Great Lent, the preparatory fast honoring the Falling Asleep of the Mother of God, the forty days before the Nativity of Jesus the Messiah and Savior, and the Apostles fast culminating with the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. Weekly fasting on Wednesday and Friday in readying one's self to receive the Lord Jesus' Body and Blood on Sunday (and minor feasts) is likewise described. Again, Fr. Evan supports his remarks on each fast with biblical and patristic sources while providing specifics of why and how. He astonished and troubled by the minimal attention given to an essential, historic teaching and practice of the Church.
Finally, Fr. Evan summarizes his presentation of the three-legged stool of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting by refocusing on the purpose of all three disciplines: guidance for the walk with Christ in the Church's wisdom, and not in isolated, individual meanderings and justifications of our selfish egos. Having had his say, Fr. Evan leaves us to get on with our spiritual life of worship and service by using these three tools. One suspects there might be another forthcoming “chapter,” maybe on how to reconfigure an Orthodox Church respectfully or on how to serve God with gratitude for the Faith given to His saints in every parish.
Fr. Elias Warren, Ph. D., D. Min. Omaha, NE
Should be in every Parish Bookstore
Posted by Lesa Vasiliou Tustin on Sep 27th 2020
Very well-written and concise. I’ve been waiting for this book since I first heard Father Evan talk about it on his weekly podcast. I flew threw it in one afternoon, and now I’m on my second, deeper reading.
This is a book for everyone: life-long orthodox, catechumens and recent converts to the faith.
Thank you Father Evan!
The Wait Was Totally Worth It!
Posted by Lee McCoy on Sep 6th 2020
I've been patiently waiting for the release of this book ever since Fr. Evan mentioned in one of his podcasts that a book was in the works. Fr Evan just has a way about him, taking pastoral issues and breaking them down in a manageable way that if you're listening, you can implement them and add to your faith. My wife and I are technically 'Protestants', but we have been closely examining Orthodoxy and 'adding to our Faith' and have implemented many Orthodox practices in our home. I have listened and learned so much from Fr Evan in his Orthodoxy Live podcast over the last couple of years. Many Protestant traditions wrongly run away anything that looks like 'works'. This book covers the how and the why of Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving - in a way that you can find purpose and direction - and grow in Grace. Highly recommend!
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