Fasting (Feat. Chris Pratt)
by Edna King
Fasting just became so cool, which may surprise some of us who have known and complained about fasting for a long time. While lots of Catholics and Protestants hardly know about fasting, we Orthodox feel like we’re already big buddies with fasting--we fast over half the year. Fasting for us usually involves abstaining from meat, dairy, and olive oil. It’s meant to help us simplify our daily lives while increasing our prayer times and charitable acts. Too often it can really be about denying yourself something you’d like to have while finding a tolerable substitute. The legalistic attitude that springs up when we follow strict fasting rules can seem to quash the benefits of simplicity. Meanwhile increasing prayer and acts of charity get skipped because we’re already following the fasting rules anyway and that seems like a lot.
Or maybe the whole concept of fasting more than half the year is too much. It’s not our habit so it doesn’t become our habit. What’s the point anyway? It’s easy to decide that fasting is for someone else--like monks.
So how did fasting just become cool? Chris Pratt, star of Guardians of the Galaxy and the Jurassic Park movies (as well as many other films), is fasting. Whoah.
A few days ago, Mr. Pratt posted on Instagram that he’s starting a Daniel Fast. The Daniel Fast was created by Protestants as a structured way to fast and simplify their lives to intentionally focus on growing closer to Christ for a set period of time. During this fast, they eat a diet like Daniel the Prophet did in Babylon. They eat nothing but fruits, vegetables, and seeds with only water to drink. This fast is also a time for increasing prayer and focusing on growing closer to God. Mr. Pratt plans to fast for 21 days.
It’s awesome that a winsome star like Chris Pratt uses his platform to share his faith. How many of us can benefit from his example! The next time you feel like grumbling because it’s a fast and all your non-Orthodox Christian buddies are eating burgers, maybe think of Chris. Remind yourself (and others) that fasting is a method we utilize for certain times in our lives to grow closer to God by simplifying our diet and lifestyle while reserving extra time to pray more, study more, and give more. Isn’t that a beautiful thing to choose to do? A Daniel Fast is not an Orthodox fast, but its very existence is a sign that God has placed a need for something like fasting in our hearts. If fasting weren’t somehow important, Other Christians wouldn’t be trying to implement their own form of it. Fasting is so cool, it helps us in so many ways, and we Orthodox have a lot of it!