Lent officially begins this coming Wednesday, March 6. If you’re like me, your head may be spinning trying to comprehend that it is already March. But, hey, ready or not, here it is.
What is Lent?
Lent is a solemn religious Christian observance beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending approximately six weeks later, just before Easter Sunday. The purpose of Lent is to prepare believers for Easter through prayer, penance, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial.
During Lent, Christians commit to fasting and giving up luxuries as a means of replicating the sacrifice of Jesus during his journey into the desert for 40 days. In order to draw nearer to God, believers may also add the daily practice of a spiritual discipline, like reading a daily devotional or praying through a Lenten calendar.
Daily devotionals provide a specific spiritual reading for a each calendar day. A long tradition in religious communities, daily devotionals originate as far back as the Ninth Century and are part of a daily routine of prayer and meditation.
Similar to an Advent calendar, a Lenten Calendar is a special calendar used by Western Christians to observe the days of Lent in anticipation of Easter Sunday.
As we approach Lent, I think it fitting that we focus on a prayer preparing us for the upcoming season of sacrifice and reflection as we seek to draw closer to our God.
A Prayer Preparing Our Hearts, Minds, and Souls for Lent
I humbly kneel before You, my soul longing to be near You like a deer that pants for water. During this season of sacrifice and reflection, transform me into the best I can be, through your loving grace and generous mercy. Open my mind and my heart to the areas in my life that need changing and harken my eyes and ears to see where I can join You in the work You are doing all around me. Father God, let my heart sing with joy and my countenance shine with the Light of life living inside me. May I be the salt and the light wherever You lead me. Father God, mold me and shape me into the person You intend me to become and serve in Your kingdom as You need me to serve. Thank You, Father God, for Your gifts and my talents and treasures. May I use them for Your praise and glory.
Amen and amen.
What can you give up for Lent?
During Lent, we seek to focus more on God and less on those things that please and entertain us. We strive to please and satisfy the Lord more than we typically yearn to please and satisfy ourselves. We do this in an effort to draw nearer to God. Here is a list of a few things we can give up to help us focus more on Him and less on ourselves.
- Social Media
- Binging on Netflix and similar streaming services
- Video Games
- Online Shopping
- Fast Food
The above are just a few ideas. You can probably think of some other things that you can give up for the next six weeks as you focus on the Lord leading up to Easter. Think about what keeps you from spending more time with God and you’ll certainly discover something to fast from for a few weeks. He has done so much for us. Let our hearts leap with joy as we show our love for Him through our willing sacrifice of things we value and cherish, including some habits and hangups interfering with our ability to be all that He intends us to be.
I’m praying you will have a fruitful Lenten season. Peace be with you, my friends.
The Devotional Guy™