‘Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he fasted forty days and forty nights he was famished.’Matthew 4:1-2, NET

Many people think of Lent as a time of fasting and giving up something like chocolate, or red meat on Fridays. Lent, however, is not about being miserable; it’s about entering into a time of preparation, repentance and self discovery leading up to Easter.

What Is Lent
In the early Church, Lent was a time of instruction leading to baptism. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry. These forty days of Lent can also be for us a time of prayer, service and introspection.
Experiencing Lent
There is no one prescribed way. Instead, we are each encouraged to find our own method of confronting our sinfulness, remembering our mortality, and giving thanks for the gift of salvation we receive through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
One of the more common practices is to give something up, or Fast, for Lent. Some abstain from chocolate, social media, shopping, or something else through the season. This is a religious practice known as fasting. We fast to reorient ourselves away from the distraction of those things, and back toward God.
Another way to reorient your life toward God, is to focus on devotional practices like Bible Study and prayer during the season. Each day they provide a scripture passage and wonderfully thought-provoking and spirit-enriching material to read and think about.
In the busyness of our everyday lives, Prayer can sometimes get squeezed out. Lent is a wonderful time to intentionally work toward finding more time in your life for prayer. You can experiment with different ways to pray during the season, or really delve into a new-to-you way of praying. Enriching your prayer life is a great way to spend Lent.
Another way to observe a holy Lent is Service, by taking on a new way of serving. Throughout the forty days of the season you can adopt a new habit of volunteering in the community, making special financial gifts to service organizations, singing in the choir, or participating in a small group.
An important practice with which many of us struggle is the spiritual discipline of rest or Sabbath. We don’t have time to rest on Saturday or even Sunday. You can instead find moments during an ordinary day to be still in God’s presence. You might choose to spend a few minutes during lunch with a desktop meditation, listen to sermons on your commute, or read a poem that feeds your spirit. Each can be a great way of enriching your Lent.
It’s Up To You
In the end, perhaps the best way to understand Lent is to remember it is a time to connect or reconnect with who you are and Who’s you are.

White Oak United Methodist Church

503 W. Center St.  White Oak, TX 75693

903-759-7634 ● grace@whiteoakumc.com