Five Things You Can Do For Lent This Year
What Are Lent and Ash Wednesday All About?
The term "Lent" comes from the Old English word "lencten." Related to the word "lengthen," it was originally a nonreligious word which simply meant the season of the lengthening of days, or spring.
Over the centuries, Lent has come to refer to the time set aside (in the spring) for reflection and preparation for the Easter season. It is a time to consider the human condition and the goodness of God. And it is a time to examine our hearts in light of the amazing love and grace demonstrated on the cross where Jesus laid down His life for ours. At the end of the season, Lent also gives us hope as we look beyond the cross and to the resurrection, a promise of a bright future for those that believe in Jesus. In essence, a "spiritual spring."
Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 14, 2024. Ash Wednesday is named for the ashes used to mark a cross on the forehead as a symbol of mourning and repentance. Depending on the particular tradition, Lent is either observed until Thursday, March 28 or continues to Saturday, March 30 (the day before Easter Sunday). During this period, many Christians observe Lent through prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and abstinence.
Christians who observe Lent usually give up something for 40 days to represent the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). They may choose to give up habits and foods such as caffeine, social media, fast food, television shows, and sweets.
What Can I Do for Lent?
Since Lent is about connecting with Jesus in a deeper way and experiencing spiritual growth, you can try something new this year by forming a new habit rather than giving up an old one. Here are five ways you can participate in the Lenten season this year.
- Read the Bible daily.
For the next 40 days, read the Bible every day. The Chase Oaks Mobile App is a great place to start. On the app, you can interact with daily Scripture readings and find extra resources to help you grow in your faith. This is a great time to read about Jesus’ ministry, death, and resurrection. You can sign up for Biola's Center for Christianity, Culture, and the Arts (CCCA) Lent Project to receive daily reflections during Lent, which featuring a Scripture passage, a devotional, a work of fine art, a poem, and a piece of music.
- Pray throughout the day.
Most of us spend time praying to God at some point in our day. Some of us get up in the morning to pray while some of us pray before we go to bed at night. But what if we prayed throughout the day? Again, the mobile app is a great way to share prayer requests and pray for others' requests, daily.
There are other ways to incorporate prayer throughout the day. Before you go to a meeting or give a presentation in class, you can pray for help and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Or while your children are napping, you can ask for peace and patience for the rest of the day. Or you can simply thank God for what He has done in your day so far such as hearing good news at work or finding rest in the middle of the day. Some people like to set an alarm or reminder to pray at the start of each hour.
- Give money to a cause or local organization.
Take some time to research on a cause or people group you are passionate about. Then, find an organization or charity to which you can donate your money to help that cause or people group. If you observe traditional Lent, you could give up your daily coffee or going out to eat and donate that money to a good cause. This is a great way to make a difference this Easter season!
- Do random acts of kindness.
You can choose to do 40 days of random acts of kindness or a couple per week. Random acts of kindness can include paying for someone else’s meal in the drive-thru line, bringing coffee to work for your team, baking goodies for your neighbors, and writing a nice note for a server that did an awesome job (and leave a nice tip!).
This might be great to do with your children this Easter, too! A small act of kindness can make a difference in someone else’s day.
- Find your place to serve at church or with a local organization.
You can also give your time and talents by finding a place to serve. Try serving on a team at church for several weeks such as a student ministry team or a communications team. For more ideas, check out some opportunities to join a Campus or Community Team at Chase Oaks.
If you are looking for other ways to participate in Lent this year, check out 25 Great Things You Can Do for Lent.