What is Lent?
Lent is one of the oldest celebrations of the Christian calendar. Mirroring Christ’s forty days in the desert, it is a seven-week period of preparation between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday. Observing Lent is historically marked by community-wide participation in the “three pillars” of piety drawn from Matthew 6. These three practices are symbolic of restored relationship: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. Sundays are not counted as part of the 40 days of Lent. Instead they are days to feast and gather together to worship and celebrate Christ’s resurrection.
Fasting is willingly giving up something good for a time to help us remember to turn our hearts to something better–God. As celebrated poet Mary Oliver writes, “Attention is the beginning of devotion.” In order to pull ourselves away from the many demands that occupy so much of our attention, and set ourselves before God, attuned to His presence and Word, we will need daily to take deliberate action. Fasting is one such time-honored practice, directing our focus away from our usual distractions toward God and His scriptures, in order to more deeply enter into His presence. Fasting is ultimately for the purpose of spiritual feasting.
In addition to practicing self-denial, Lent is also a time for self-examination and reflection. How might you begin your days with a moment of sustained reflection? How might you end your nights with self-examination? In order to aid you in this time of reflection and prayer, consider these resources below during the season of Lent.
We pray this season of Lent finds you greater rest as you draw near to Jesus.
- The Lent Project – from Biola University Center for Christianity, Culture and the Arts. Free daily devotionals sent to your email.
- Every Moment Holy – free PDF download journal with liturgies, scripture readings, and daily reflections.
- SheReads/HeReadsTruth Lent 2023 Guide – free daily devotional emails, or study guides of 1 + 2 Chronicles for purchase.
- Lent Spotify Playlist