St. Stephen's Episcopal Church
Tuesday, February 09, 2016
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What is fasting?

Fasting is an ancient Christian discipline.  Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness fasting and praying before he began his ministry.  It is an especially appropriate practice during Lent to help us deepen our relationship with God.  As Tom Ehrich has written in his Church Wellness Report, “Fasting is more than giving up chocolate for Lent.  It means entering deliberately into hunger.”  In choosing to fast we shift our focus from the appetites in our lives, things that turn our hearts from God, to our true hunger, which is to rest with God. 

At its heart fasting is a form of prayer, a way we choose to put ourselves in God’s presence. It enriches our prayer life.  The gift of fasting is not the sense of accomplishment that comes with having done something difficult, for often while fasting we feel as though we are being carried along by the Spirit.  Rather, the gift of fasting is the Holy Presence itself, God alone. Flowing from God’s presence is our ability to perceive with new eyes.  Not only do we see God working in our lives in new ways but we see the world around us and our dear ones with more clarity and sensitivity.