Lent: A Simple Guide
MARCH 6 – APRIL 18
WHAT IS LENT?
Lent is a season of prayer, reflection and penitence designed to prepare God’s people to more meaningfully remember Christ’s death and celebrate the resurrection.
What began in the early church as a time of preparation for baptism on Easter morning has become a season in which followers of Jesus remember their need of salvation.
Lent is a journey from the ashes that remind us of our mortality to the full bloom of Easter Sunday, when we will celebrate our new life in Christ.
As we enter into this season together, here are three practices you might consider:
READ WITH PURPOSE.
Beyond devotional reading, Lent is a season to particularly meditate on the life and work of Jesus. Here are a few suggestions for you:
Comforts from the Cross by Elyse Fitzpatrick
31 short devotional readings designed to show how the facts of the gospel should make your heart glad and free.
The Cross of Christ by John Stott
A rich, classic work that will challenge and humble you.
Practices of Love for the Life of the World by City Pres Church, ABQ
Our friends at City Pres have put together a devotional guide for Lent. Available on Amazon.
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
For families or on your own (it really is that good), consider reading the 20 stories from “Get Ready” to “God’s Wonderful Surprise.” There are 40 days in the Lenten season, so you have room to fit in readings when you can.
PRAY THE PSALMS.
The Psalms are uniquely given to God’s people as both prayers and models for praying. Use this season to ground your own practice of praying Scripture.* You could perhaps also read these out loud and re-write them in your own words (especially with children). Don’t be in a hurry to pray them all…choose 1, maybe 2 a week and pray them on multiple days.
Psalms of Penitence
6, 32, 51, 130
Psalms of Lament
(crying to God in need)
13, 42, 57, 142
Psalms of Worship
(praise & thanksgiving)
8, 19, 67, 95, 117
*If you’d like help learning how to pray Scripture in this way, Don Whitney’s Praying the Bible is a good guide.
CHOOSE A FAST.
Fasting has been part of the church’s life together since her earliest days.
Stated simply, to fast is to abstain from something specific for a defined period of time for a spiritual purpose.*
Here are some reasons to consider a fast:
To make room for God (in time or attention)
To be more present with family or community
To lessen the power some habit has on your life
To reveal ways you avoid God or your own heart
A conversation with a pastor or trusted friend may help you identify an appropriate fast. Fasting is best done in community, sharing your experience with someone who will encourage you and help you (even if you are fasting in different ways).
*For more, see Bobby Gross’s helpful chapter on Lent in Living the Christian Year.
whose Son Jesus Christ fasted 40 days in the wilderness,
and was tempted as we are,
yet without sin:
give us grace to discipline ourselves in obedience to your Spirit;
and, as you know our weakness,
so may we know your power to save;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.