Each year, millions of Christians celebrate the season of Lent, a time known for fasting, disciplines, and prayer. This season always begins on Ash Wednesday, which fell this year on Wednesday, February 22nd. While we are still at the beginning of Lent, let’s unpack the meaning and history behind this 40-day season and maybe even think through a few ideas on how we might ready our hearts for Easter. Here are some basic principles behind the Lenten season:
What is Lent?
Lent is the period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) that precedes the celebration of Easter. It’s often linked to the story in Matthew 4, when Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights.
When is Lent?
Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues through Good Friday and Holy Saturday. During this time, many followers will focus on their spirituality—some will give up trivial things.
How to Prepare for Lent:
Many Christians see Lent as a time to recall and renew their commitment to Christ.
With this in mind, let’s all dig deep into our souls and think about the last time we really contemplated being fully committed and fully alive in Christ Jesus. When was the last time we really acknowledged Him for giving His life for us? And, if it has been a while, what is distracting us? Can we pinpoint it?
As sinners, we know that even with the best of intentions we often turn from God. Our thoughts become consumed with our next meal, an upcoming assignment, plans for the weekend, and so on and so on. Many times, we simply go about our routines without really putting much thought into them.
What if we were able to rid ourselves of those distractions by making a few changes to our routine when considering what to give up for Lent? Maybe we give up our afternoon snack break or turn off our cell phones for an hour each evening. Maybe we forego the cup of drive-thru coffee each morning. And maybe we instead spend this time focusing our thoughts and hearts on Christ. Do you see how observing Lent can renew our connection with Him?
You never know—perhaps as we acknowledge the little things that sometimes distract us from God, we become more aware of the weight of his sacrifice for us. And in turn, we might just be one step closer to fully embracing His grace and unfailing love for us this Easter.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
Ephesians 2:8-10 NRSV
We encourage you to spend quiet time with God during this Lenten season, letting Him guide you. We will be joining you each day in our Instagram stories, sharing His Word, inspiration, and specific prayers from Journey to the Cross that you can pray each week as you step out in faith and take this journey toward the cross.
You can also read full excerpts from Journey to the Cross on Wednesdays at DaySpring and on Saturdays at (in)courage. If you enjoy this series, purchase the book to experience forty days of encouragement and guided Scripture, reflections, and prayers.