Today I was attracted to Father Maximos’ comment about confession, a very important sacrament of Greek Orthodox Christianity. “To be an effective confessor, it is important to first prepare yourself through fasting and prayer.”
I don’t come from a confession or a fasting tradition, but I am intrigued by the connection between praying and fasting. When I think of fasting, food comes to my mind, and truth be told, I never fast. I try to eat healthy and not over eat, but that’s about it; with my high metabolism, I am often hungry, and so I eat. In fact, as I write I am enjoying some cut-up cantaloupe.
But what about other kinds of fasting, other excessive to give up, other abstentions? Thoughts, for instance, particularly as regard to praying. Abstaining from judgments about the person I’m praying for; giving up what I think the person should do, or what I think God should do for them: letting go of my critique about how they got themselves into the situation that now needs prayer. I could go on and on.
Giving up, abstaining, fasting from all of that seems much more essential and powerful for prayer than a few pieces of healthy melon.