Today is the first day of Lent and I am really excited about what we have planned as a family. If you’re not sure what Lent is, it’s the 40 days, not including Sunday’s, before Resurrection Sunday. It’s a preparation time before the celebration for the resurrection of Christ which took place on or around Easter Sunday.
Lent begins today February 22 and ends on Saturday, April 7th. During the time of Lent, people normally give something up in remembrance of the following biblical occurrence.
- Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. Luke 4-2
- And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. Genesis 7:17
- And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. Exodus 24:18
You can do a Biblical keyword search of the words ‘forty days‘ to find many more instances of life changing events that occurred during 40 day periods.
How we plan to spend our Lent.
1. Studying catechism with the children. The most important legacy I want to leave my children with is the ‘why‘ behind what they believe.
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear… 1 Peter 3:15
2. Simple Eating. We plan to cook and eat simple meals over the next forty days starting with today’s dinner of lentil, potatoes, wild rice and baked bread.
3. Praying fervently for ourselves and others. We have the ourselves part down pat. We already pray individually and as a family. My husband and I pray together daily and I pray daily with the children. We also take the time to pray together as a family on weekends but with so much prayer, I want to make sure that our words are not becoming redundant.
I also want to become more intentional about praying for the people in who have asked for our prayer. You know how it is. Someone asks you to pray for them which you respond, “Sure, I’ll be praying for you”. You mean well when you say it, but you never get around to it because life is busy. I made a commitment sometime ago to uphold my promise to pray for others by keeping a prayer journal beside my bed, but I’ll admit that it got buried under some books and it’s bee about a month since I pulled it out. I have just been praying aimlessly for those people I could remember off the top of my head during prayer time, but I plan to be more intentional during this 40 day season. Having the prayer forum has been helpful in reminding me to pray for others. Each time someone leaves a prayer I get an email and am able to pray right then and there.
10 Questions to Help Prepare for Lent
1. How do I want my life to be different on Resurrection Sunday?
2. Is there a habit or sin in my life that is keeping me from loving God with my whole heart or loving my neighbor as myself? How will I address that habit over the next 40 days?
3. Is there anyone in my life from whom I need to ask forgiveness or pursue reconciliation?
4. What practical steps can I take to carve out time for daily devotion?
5. What spiritual discipline do I need to improve upon?
6. What are some things in my life that I am idolizing? Can I give it up for 40 days?
7. Why am I giving this particular thing up? How does giving it up draw me closer to God and prepare me for Easter?
8. How will I deal with the hardship of this 40 self-denial?
9. Who will help keep me accountable during this time?
10. How will I celebrate the life and gift of Christ on Resurrection Sunday?
Please feel free to add your own ideas and plans to the comment section.
(Crown of Thorns image credit)