Why bother with Lent?
Okay, so may be Lent isn’t normative to your tradition. Or, may be you see Lent as a time for giving up things like chocolate and that just seems silly to you. However, I have found that Lent can be an amazing time of renewal if you use it as an opportunity to adopt a spiritual discipline for forty days.
Six years ago, I observed Lent as an opportunity to element clutter and excess in my life. Over a forty day period I eliminated forty bags of unnecessary stuff from my life. This move toward simplicity helped me have a spiritually healthier relationship to material things and definitely had an impact on my stewardship.
Since that time I have adopt a variety of disciplines. Everything from praying an hour a day to giving up my car for Lent. (I rode my bike to work on body holiness. That one was tough) If you want to read more about my story go to my Lent ideas page. Or, start you’re own story by selecting a discipline today. You will find lots of suggestions on the Lent page.
So how does this Lent thing work?
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, which is February 22 in 2012 and lasts until Easter. If you pulled out a calendar and counted days you won’t get 40 days. That’s because Sundays are excluded from Lent. Traditionally, Lent is a time of focusing on the passion of Christ (his suffering and crucifixion) and sorrow for your sins. It is a time of repentance. Sundays are almost like mini-Easters. They are celebrations of Christ resurrection, so are not included.
While fasting and giving something up has been the norm, I started taking on something instead many years ago and have found this amazingly beneficial to my faith. I practice my discipline each day with the exception of Sundays. This year I am going to adopt the exercise Pure Praise listed below as a daily discipline of prayer.
I have another dozen suggestions on my Lent page. I try to strike a balance of disciplines that emphasize either study, prayer, or action. Each suggestion is laid out as a PDF that can be photocopied back-to-back and then cut in half to create half page handouts. Feel free to reproduce these sheets for use in your church, Sunday school class or youth group. I would appreciate it if you acknowledged where you got them from, but that’s not 100% necessary.
Have a blessed Lent and I hope these resources enrich your faith.
New for 2012
Want to ramp up the intimacy of your relationship with God–Try 40 days of praise. This is the 3 step model of praising God I discovered while reading Psalm 18 that transformed both my prayer life and my relationship with God.
An easy to remember five-fold pattern of interceding for others. This is also a great discipline to teach and do with kids to teach them how to prayer for others. This is one prayer model you will never forget because your own hand becomes mnemonic to remember all five pieces.
This is a check list of readings that will bring you through the gospel of Matthew in 40 days, plus tips on how to succeed. This is a great way to start a daily discipline of reading if you aren’t already reading your Bible every day.
Thirteen more spiritual discipline suggestions with easy to follow instructions and tips for succeeding.
Filed under: Uncategorized