On hungry prayer

My goal this week is to be hungry. That may sound strange, I know, but there it is. Hunger indicates a yearning, a desire, a longing. It involves expectation, ambition, hope. Hunger begs to be satisfied. And that is how I want to approach God.

When I was in high school, I’d return home each day buoyed by that blessed sound of the bell at 2:10, ready to snack and lounge mindlessly and put off my homework as long as possible. There’s nothing like sitting in a classroom for hours to work up an appetite, let me tell you. So I’d slide into my snacking procrastination, grateful for a quiet afternoon before my parents came home. And they did, after long days at work, and my mom would resume her place in the kitchen, chopping and boiling and readying the table. We’d sit down at that table, and often—so often—I’d say, “I’m not hungry.” Not hungry? Here my mom had spent time creating a meal with me in mind, looking forward to sitting down with her family and sharing it. And countless times I’d reject it.

How often do I approach God that way? How often do I come to Him—in Mass, in prayer, in the day-to-day—feeling entirely filled by other things? But I want to hunger for Him. I want to approach the Eucharistic table spiritually hungry. I want to come to my Father expecting Him to feed me, to give me good things.

But how? It’s one thing to conjure up lofty spiritual goals, yet another to live them practically. One easy step I’ve found is to go to prayer, to Mass physically hungry. There’s a reason for the one hour Eucharistic fast. It’s remarkable how fruitful that ache in my stomach can be if I just direct it to God, if I allow it to grow for His sake. I come to Him with a tangible emptiness that illumines my spiritual neediness, the room in my heart and soul for His presence, His word, His very Body.

So, I challenge you: Be hungry this week. Come to God with an ache of desire, a growling stomach, an honest emptiness—and He will fill you up.




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