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Why Prayer and Fasting?

February 05, 2015

Why Prayer and Fasting?

Asking is at the heart of prayer. When we ask something of God—or of people for that matter—we step into a position of humility that says I need something I do not have. Asking also engenders an interconnectedness that says I need what I do not have, and I need it from you. While asking prayer certainly includes requesting particular needs of the Lord—like for health, for provision, for healing in relationships—prayer especially asks God for His Presence.

Prayer is a question spurred by a spiritual hunger: "Jesus, I hunger for more of your presence and glory in my life. Would you give that to me?" When we fast, we integrate this spiritual hunger with a physical hunger. We allow our body to participate in and aid our prayer for filling. This deepens and sharpens our prayers; it focuses our request. Our heart and our body pray, "I am hungry, my family is hungry, my church is hungry, and so many in the world are hungry; would you please fill us?"

How Do I Fast?

As we prepare for our RezFast, there are a few ways to fast. As to duration, please consider either a three day fast or a 24 hour fast. If you have fasted before and there are no medical cautions, I would encourage you to fast beginning Monday morning and continuing until the Eucharist on Wednesday evening. If you are new to fasting, consider a 24 hour fast in which you begin after a supper on Tuesday around sundown and continue until Eucharist on Wednesday evening.

I would highly encourage fasting from all solids and drinking plenty of water and juice. This will usher you into a time of hunger but also keep your blood sugar in a place where you can focus and pray. Helpful juices are grape and apple. Making your own juice if you are able is ideal. Drink juice when you might have had a meal and then spend the other "meal time" on a prayer walk or reading Scripture.st

You may feel fatigued or sluggish. This is not unusual. You may have an unusual alertness in prayer or you may find it hard to pray. Either way, the Lord hears your prayers. And, as you fast, remember that not only is your mind praying but so is your body. And, thank God, so is the Holy Spirit through you (Romans 8.26).

Stewart Ruch
Bishop of the Upper Midwest, Dean of the Greater Chicago Deanery, Rector
stewart@churchrez.org
Tagged: prayer, fasting