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.
13 Other Lent Ideas
Below are links to PDF files of various disciplines I have offered in the past to my congregation. Feel free to reprint them for non-commercial usage. I would appreciate an acknowledgment that you got them from The Practical Disciple, but it’s not mandatory.
- Confession–A prayer model for daily confession that will prompt you to reflect on aspects of your discipleship that you might otherwise overlook.
- Mark in 40 Days–Mark broken down into 40 readings, plus a prayer journaling format.
- Taming the Tongue–Three intentions to adopt to transform your tongue from a source of hurt to a fountain of joy.
- Luke in Forty Days. This is a check list of readings that will bring you through the Luke of gospel in 40 days, plus tips on how to succeed
- Forty bags in Forty days. This how I purged 40 bags of clutter from my life, with tips on how to get started.
- Forty days free of a media habit. If you are a television or internet addict, try this discipline to set you free
- Love Notes. Write a short note of encouragement or thanks to 40 people in 40 days.
- Top 40 Bible Passages. This check list of 40 core bible passage takes you on a great tour of scripture. Created by Rev. Glen McDonald for his book, The Disciple Making Church.
- Fast and Contribute. Consider fasting once a week or even a meal a week and giving the food to abate hunger in your community.
- Adopt-A-Shut-In (PDF) or Adopt-A-Shut-in (Word Doc). These two handouts are copies of what we had for members in our church who were going to visit shut-ins weekly during Lent. To read more about the project click here. The files are identical except for their format.
- John in 40 Days. This is a check list of readings that will bring you through the gospel of John in 40 days, plus tips on how to succeed.
- Faith P.E.G.S. In the spring of 2009 I was inspired to take time everyday to Prayer, Encourage, Give and Study; hence, the acronym P.E.G.S.. You can read the original post about that by clicking here. I found that a little work in each of these areas daily strengthened my faith and relationship to God tremendously.
- The Examen. The examen is a nearly 500 year old practice of reflection at the end of the day that originated with the monk, St. Ignatius. This model of reflection gives you serious pause to consider where God was in your day and how you were response to God. I find that practiced regularly this will make you much more conscious to actively looking for God in the day and being more faithfully responsive.
My Lenten Story
Lent has become one of the most significant seasons for me spiritually. For the last three years I have taken on spiritual disciplines that have made a rather significant shift in my discipleship. It began with wanting to work on excess and clutter in my life. I felt the need to purge and reorient my relationship to “stuff”. I did so by setting aside 40 grocery sacks and then each day filling one and getting rid of it. Some items went to the thrift shop at our church, some went in the trash, and some went directly to people I knew.
The next year I wrote 400 words each day that would be a blessing to others. I started writing about prayer and 40 days later I was still writing on prayer. I have shared that document with a number of people and excerpts have been used for more than one post.
Then, I prayed an hour a day. That really reset my whole system. I found myself more focused, peaceful and able to sleep and concentrate.
Then next year, I gave up my car for Lent. I only drove when I had to transport other people. I road my bicycle and used the bus on bad weather days. I learned a lot of great lessons and improved my health.
In the ensuing years I did the following:
Led an online bible study mentoring program for three college students.
Had a special prayer time everyday in which I only praised God.
Read daily, ‘The Passion of Christ’ by Thomas A’ Kempis and made sketches of the crucifixion.
Completed 40 unfinished tasks that were silently zapping energy that I could give to God.
This year….hmm??? Not sure yet. But, as you can see, the possibilities are endless. Every discipline has had it’s merits and in general practicing a discipline has helped me be much more conscious about how I live out my faith each day. I hope one of these suggestions helps you.
Blessings from The Practical Disciple