If you’ve been preparing for Lent and woken up to the realisation that it’s become a bit of a routine, a yearly thing you just do because your church, family and friends are doing it, you’re not alone. This year, Lent starts on 2 March (Ash Wednesday) and so begins 40 days of reflection, prayer and fasting in the lead-up to Easter. Or at least, that’s what’s supposed to happen.
How can we make Lent more meaningful, so that at the end of the 40 days, we step out stronger in our Christian faith, more attuned to His Word and equipped to do good work? Here are some handles to consider. Some are easy, some require a bit more effort.
> Understand why you’re observing Lent
Are you observing Lent only because it’s a church tradition? Fasting only because your mother told you to? If you don’t understand the why behind your actions, they become meaningless. Try following a devotional plan or Bible study themed around Lent to help you understand how this event came to be. Perhaps in history, you may find more meaning.
> If you’re fasting, pair it with prayer
Fasting during Lent only works when there’s spiritual work happening in us. No, intermittent fasting doesn’t count if there’s no God stuff happening. Sometimes, the time we’d have spent eating is spent scrolling through Instagram. A simple but effective tip: pair fasting with prayer. Commit to a time of prayer each day, just as you committed to fasting from meat or alcohol.
> Observe Lent with someone who has the same goals
Perhaps you’ve attended church together for years, or simply share the joy of walking together in the faith. It could be a friend, your partner, or even your dad. Look around for someone who’ll hold you accountable, check in on you and help you stay focussed through the 40 days. We know, it’s a pretty long stretch.
> Ask God for something fresh
Sometimes, all we need to do is ask. In a season of contemplation, prayer and fasting, our hearts become more sensitive to His voice. Take a leap of faith and ask — for an answer to prayer, direction or wisdom.
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.MAtthew 7:7-8 (NLT)
> Follow in Christ’s footsteps and impact your community
If volunteering or carrying out acts of kindness during the Lenten season is what you often do, we’re so encouraged! Our Lord and Saviour wasn’t just a talker; He loved those around Him and did everything to offer us abundant life. If you haven’t before, take a shot at serving a family or poor community in Jesus’ name. In living out our faith, it’s easier to find meaning in Lent and in life.