Trying to discover the link between fasting and prayer

“People sometimes fast as a way of asking God for what they need, or as a way of doing penance for their sins.

But, most deeply, fasting is a form of prayer – prayer in action. It helps us experience and express:
• Our hunger for God
• Our dependence on God (food ultimately comes from God)
• Our weakness and frailty
• Our willingness to change some of the patterns in our life”

(Originally seen in the Little Black Book distributed in churches at Lent.)

Anytime we put ourselves in a position to more deeply experience our utter and profound emptiness, we are in a sense fasting. If we resist the semi-conscious inclination to rely on the finite in our largely pathetic attempt to assuage the pain of our emptiness, we can finally drop our defenses and let God gently enter. Television, magazines, music, the internet, human contact, even exercise, and yes of course food, occasionally need to be left aside so that their power to distract and sedate us is neutralized and dismantled, even if only partially. All these things can obstruct the path to prayer if they never are firmly told they need to take a back seat. We need to change that “never” into a “sometimes”. And then we need to work on making it “with regular frequency” until a fidelity to prayer and reflection takes root.


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