Lent is a season of spiritual preparation in which we remember Christ’s temptation, suffering, and death. Lent is a traditional time for Christians to draw closer to Jesus through prayer, reflection, fasting, and repentance. Here are a few simple ideas for keeping this ancient Christian observance.
Historically, the church has celebrated Lent as a 40-day period beginning on Ash Wednesday and concluding the day before Easter. The climax of Lent is Holy Week, which is the week immediately preceding Easter, or Resurrection Sunday. It is observed in many Christian churches as a time to commemorate the last week of Jesus’ life, his suffering (Passion), and his death, through various observances and services of worship.
Many Christians use the 40 days of Lent as a journey of drawing closer to the Lord through prayer, fasting, repentance, and self-denial. “What are you doing for Lent?” is a common question among Christians this time of the year. With Ash Wednesday upon us, perhaps you are beginning to think and pray about how you will spend your time during the sacrificial season of Lent.
Here is a list of 10 ideas for walking through Lent.
- REFLECT ON THE CROSS
Reflect daily on the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the meaning of his death on the cross, and the greatness of God’s love for you.
- PRAY DAILY
Set aside some extra time each day during the season of Lent for personal prayer in the morning and evening.
- READ THE BIBLE
Make time every day to read your Bible during Lent. One idea is to read the entire Gospel of Mark, which has a special focus on the cross.
- GIVE UP SOMETHING
A common practice for Lent is to give up something—like technology, social media, sweets, coffee, alcohol, etc. This is a great time to detox from things that may have a stronghold in your life.
- START A GOOD HABIT
In addition to giving something up, try doing something good this Lent. Are you a pessimist? Try to be more positive. Are you critical by nature? Make an effort to be more encouraging. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you.
- GIVE YOUR TIME
During Lent, give of your time by volunteering in your church or local community.
- KEEP A JOURNAL
Keeping a journal of your thoughts, prayers, and reflections during Lent can be a helpful aid to your Lenten journey.
- MAKE TIME FOR YOUR FAMILY
If you have kids, plan special times just for them during Lent. Take your family hiking or on a lunch date, or even have a family day where you can serve together in the community.
- GIVE YOUR MONEY
During Lent, give a little more money to your local church or consider your favorite charity or mission agency.
- FORGIVE OTHERS
Lent is a time to make things right in your life and relationships. Is there a person in your life you need to forgive? Don’t hold that resentment any longer. Pray about it and ask God to help you forgive them.
Dr. Winfield is the Director of Church Planting at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He also directs Asbury’s Anglican Formation program. As a seasoned practitioner, he has helped plant several churches and has used his experience to train leaders from around the world. He is the author of several books including his forthcoming book Ever Ancient Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation (Zondervan, 2018). As an author, one of his passions is the intersection of spiritual formation and mission. He and his wife Kay, have three school aged children and live in the Bluegrass state of Kentucky.