Lent is the 46-day penitential season between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is a time to prepare our hearts anew for resurrection. If you didn’t grow up in a church that observed Lent (like me) you may have some questions. Read on-
Fasting helps us remember how weak we are, and how much we need Jesus. Remember what he said to his disciples in Gethsemane- “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
It is so true. Fasting during Lent gives us the opportunity to remember this, and cling ever closer to the Savior.
What Should I Fast?
That is up to you. A lot of people give up sugar, or drinking alcohol, but it is really a personal choice. I try to choose something that I know would be particularly difficult for me. One year, I gave up “scrolling” on my phone. I had no idea I was so addictive. I failed more at that than anything else I have ever fasted.
If I Break My Fast, Should I Just Give Up?
No! The purpose of the fast is NOT success, it is to remind you how much you need Jesus. If you give in and break it, prayerfully recognize your weakness, ask God to help you, and get back to it. My pastor always says that the worst thing that could happen to you is that you sail through Lent without this struggle. Also, if you pick something you never fail at, you might have not picked something challenging enough.
How Long Does Lent Last?
This is where it gets a bit confusing. Lent lasts for 46 days, but we only fast for 40 of those. Why? Sunday is always a feast day. For example, if you give up cookies for Lent, you can have all the cookies you want on Sundays.
The 40 days are reminiscent of the 40 days Jesus fasted in the wilderness before the launch of his ministry.
I Want Something Devotional During Lent, Do You Have Any Suggestions?
Absolutely. I always want something special to read during this time. I would love to have you join our online study- Running Into Arms Open Wide: Preparing Our Hearts for Easter. Don’t worry that we have already begun, you can jump right in.
Here are some other resources I love-
- Lent and Easter Wisdom from Henri Nouwen
- Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
- Sacred Space
- Wondrous Encounters