Prayer During Fasting And Abstinence. Why Catholics Fast.
Our faith teaches us to pray before and after meals. But what if we are fasting, what shall we pray?
But first, why do we fast?
Christ himself spent 40 days in solitude, prayer, and fasting. If we are followers of Jesus, then we must also do so. Christ endured this ordeal not because he was a sinner, but because he did this for us. That we may know that this is essential to our spiritual journey. We might not fully understand why we do this, but we can be reminded of the power and glory that comes after we do it.
In the old testament, people prayed and fasted for days when they seeked God’s help especially in times of danger. They also did so when they asked for God’s forgiveness and blessings. And when they did fast, God heard their prayers and attended to their needs. Fasting not only appeases God, but it also prepares us with the abounding grace He is about to give us.
In the new testament, Jesus tells his disciples what to do and not to do when fasting. He tells us not to put up a show and rather not be noticeable about it. Jesus hints a need for solitude and humility in fasting. Because other than purity, it is actually an intimate way to surrender our bodies to God.
Fasting did not stop with Jesus. Saul/Paul fasted for three days during the loss of his sight after his encounter with Jesus. Then later on, the early Christians under his ministry also fasted. As shown in the Book of Acts and the Letters of Paul, the early Christian elders prayed and fasted. This was S.O.P. in every church.
If you wish to express your love to God, you need to fast. Not because he wants you to suffer, but because he wants you to conquer what is sufferable with him. Remember that Jesus is with you when you pray and fast, in all of its pain and glory. To lack the world through fasting is to lack the world with Jesus.
Fasting and abstinence has a great effect on our life and soul.
Who here has perfect faith to say that his faith alone is enough to be saved? No one. That is why we need prayer and fasting. And with this, the Church has three main reasons on why it is prescribed especially on the days of penance:
- in order to curb the concupiscence of the flesh;
- to facilitate the elevation of our souls toward divine realities;
- to defeat our sins, especially the habitual ones.
By praying, the soul grows to love the body. By fasting, the body grows to love the soul. Thus, when we encounter Christ in Gethsemane, both the spirit and body will be willing to remain with him.
Prayer During Fasting and Abstinence
Prayer During Fasting and Abstinence Our Father, I thank you for the grace that has come to me to fast and abstain for your glory. I ask to be directed and inspired by your Son’s rejection of the temptations of the Evil One. May the Holy Spirit give me the strength, wisdom, and humility to undergo this task. Humble me Lord as I willingly suffer through this fast, with cheerfulness and without complaint. Humble me Lord when I feel the pain and crave for sustenance. Humble me Lord when I exalt myself because of my zeal to fast. Humble me Lord that I may remember that your word gives me life, strength, and peace. Humble me Lord when I try to tempt myself to quit this fast. And most especially, humble me Lord when I succeed. Oh Lord, I offer this fast to you and I pray not just for my temporal and spiritual welfare, but I also offer this for my family and friends, for the Pope, for your priests, for the conversion of sinners, and for the repose of the souls in purgatory. Amen. Followed by: Our Father (1x), Hail Mary (3x), Glory be (1x)