One of the first things Christians ask when you mention the word “Lent” is, “what is it?” Let’s define Lent.
What is Lent?
Lent is the span of time in the church calendar that starts with Ash Wednesday and ends with Easter Sunday. Ash Wednesday commemorates the beginning of Jesus’ 40-day fasting and temptation in the desert, and Easter Sunday commemorates Jesus’ resurrection from the grave after his crucifixion.
Lent, then, is generally observed as a time for Christians to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing their hearts for Easter. It is commonly observed by many Christian denominations—Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and others—although not every Christian church or denomination does so.
Because Lent is not officially instituted in Scripture, observing it isn’t in any way a “requirement” of Christianity. However, Christians from many different theological persuasions choose to observe it as a way of focusing their thoughts on Jesus Christ during the Easter season.
Why should we observe Lent as Christians?
I’d like to give two reasons why we should observe Lent as Christians.
- If we are to truly appreciate the great cost to Christ of our salvation, we should meditate on our sinfulness. This meditation should lead us to turn away from our sins and recommit ourselves to holiness.
- Second after we examine our hearts and lives, we should be led to cry out to God as David did, “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:9-10). So as a believer, Lent spurs us to self- examination and a spirit of renewal in our walk with God.
How does one observe Lent?
Here are four things to do with single-mindedness this Lent which, if you do them, will give you a clearer vision of the Risen Christ, come Easter.
- FASTING: Part of planning your fast should be to educate yourself on different types of fasts and reasons to fast. Also, when Fasting is mentioned in the Scripture, it is always accompanied by prayer. Spend time talking to God and allowing Him to reveal Himself to you in His Word.
- PRAYING: Spend the time in God’s presence.
- DAILY DEVOTION: Even ten minutes a day can lead you to a deepening of faith and a greater understanding of God’s Grace.
- WORKS OF MERCY: Resolve to perform one random act of kindness daily.
You can find a list of incidents of fasting in scripture by clicking here.