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LENT: What, Why, How

02.19.18 | Prayer, Scripture | by Matt Shantz


The Lenten season is a time of preparation. It is a time to especially contemplate the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus in the time leading up to Good Friday and concluding with the celebration of Easter Sunday.

We are busy. And before we know it it will be Easter Sunday. We may find ourselves declaring, He Is Risen Indeed! at church that morning without having pondered the depths of God's sacrificial love for us much at all in the days leading up to it. Lent safeguards against that.

Lent is a season to empty ourselves of lesser things that occupy the space of our day to day lives in order to be filled with the greater things of the Gospel.

The 40 day period (beginning on Ash Wednesday, February 10th) is a time to follow Jesus into the wilderness and identify with His sufferings in a very small way through fasting. By fasting, we are intentionally bringing a level of discomfort, inconvenience, and self-denial to coincide with a time of focusing on the depths that God went to secure our Salvation through the atoning sacrifice of His Son Jesus.


The Lent Guide has seven weekly readings to correspond with the seven weeks of Lent (Week One: Feb 7-13). The guide offers a weekly reading along with four supplementary Scriptures passages to consider throughout the week in addition to a weekly fast recommendation (more on that below). 

The guide is not cumbersome but simply prompts us to be intentional. The content of it will take mere minutes each week, while offering you the opportunity to devote more time to it if you choose.

Every weekly section also includes space for journaling, prayers, and what God is teaching you throughout the Lenten season.


Week 1: Food
Week 2: Television and Movies
Week 3: Social Networking and Internet 
Week 4: Caffeine and Sweets
Week 5: Radio and Music
Week 6: Shopping for Non-Essentials 
Week 7: Sleep

Week 1 involves a fast from food. You may choose to fast from one meal a day; others will do an entire day; others still might choose a fast of multiple days.
Week 7 involves a fast from sleep. You are neither expected nor encouraged to abstain from sleep for the entire week. However, the hope is that we might set our alarms an hour or two earlier, stay up an hour or two later and devote one entire night or morning to prayer. (excerpt from the Lent Guide)

Pick up a Lent Guide on Sunday or download the PDF file here.

Originally a preparation period for those desiring to be baptized, Lent eventually became embedded into Christian tradition as a season for the Church to symbolically follow Christ into the wilderness. It is a time for fasting and self-denial, though not for denial itself. It is a period to empty ourselves of lesser things so that we might be filled with the greater things of the gospel. — Geoff Ashley

This blog post was originally posted on February 4, 2016.