An Invitation to Lent
“Lent is about turning away from our sins and toward the living God. A season dedicated to repentance and renewal should not lead us to despair; it should cause us to praise God for his grace. Central to Lent is the idea that we need this kind of renewal consistently through our lives. We do not receive God’s grace only when we turn to him at the beginning of our spiritual journey. God’s grace meets us again and again” (Dr. Esau McCauley, Lent: A Season of Repentance and Renewal).
Suggestions for observing the season of Lent
Just as our annual calendar revolves around meteorological seasons, Christians for millennia have observed spiritual seasons. Lent is one of these spiritual seasons, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday (a period of 40 days, not counting Sundays). Lent is fundamentally an opportunity to reset our relationship with God and others by doing some things with greater intention than we might during the rest of the year.
There is no formula or “right way” to observe this season. Based on church tradition and a clear alignment with scripture, we encourage you to consider adopting 1 or more of these practices this year:
Fasting is simply choosing to say no to something we desire in order to create extra space for; pursuing a relationship with God. Fasting is unplugging to “plug in” to the source of life, God’s presence and power which fills and satisfies completely. There are many ways to fast, but two to consider are:
- Fasting from decadence (abstaining from sweets, meat, alcohol, a form of entertainment, etc. Rather than trying to go “cold turkey,” choose 1-2 days during the week where you fast and then build up week to week.)
- Fasting from sustenance (fast 1 day each week from all food or several meals during that day)
Each day, say a simple prayer of repentance aloud to God. Name a specific sin and ask for God’s forgiveness. If you struggle on some days to name a specific sin, try reading through Psalm 51 until you can recite it by memory. Scripture actually encourages us to confess our sins to one another – so ask God for the courage to confess your sin to a brother or sister in Christ.
For Jesus, mercy was never only about meeting the needs of human souls. Jesus in his mercy met the tangible needs of the body – food, healing, community, and justice. Ask that God would show you opportunities to go out of your way to care for your neighbors during this season. For example, you could deliver a meal or get well card to someone who is sick or make a financial contribution to a non-profit organization.
LCAH Week of Prayer + Fasting
As a church, we are marking out the week of March 27th – 31st to seek God together through corporate prayer and fasting. We want to express our thirst for the living water of Jesus’ presence and power. We’ll be concluding this week with a worship night on Friday, March 31st. Stay tuned for more details on what will be an impactful week for you and for your church!