In two days, many churches will observe Ash Wednesday. It’s considered one of the most important days on the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent (March 1-April 13 this year), which is a holy season of 40 days marked by repentance, fasting and prayer. The time culminates with the celebration of Easter.
What are Ash Wednesday and Lent?
The tradition of Ash Wednesday stems from an ancient Jewish practice of wearing ashes on your head. The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. They’re meant to help us discover a deeper spiritual maturity. Ash Wednesday and Lent are typically practiced by Catholics, although several Protestant denominations observe it as well. Lent represents a time of challenge followed by a time of blessing as we celebrate the resurrection at Easter. Regardless of how a person chooses to observe Lent, the practice is regarded as highly personal.
Lent and Your Life
While many people choose not to observe this time, there are still deep spiritual insights in the modern practice of intentional reflection and self-examination. Jesus fasted in the wilderness to gain spiritual strength and can serve as an example to us. While we don’t have to escape to the wild in order to fast, there is tremendous power in giving up something dear to us.
By giving something up, we become capable of filling ourselves with Christ instead. This allows God to reveal in us hidden traits or things he’s pushing us toward. By delaying gratification and choosing self-sacrifice, we’re also practicing an age old tradition of spiritual discipline that God has been using to communicate to his people since the beginning of time. There’s so much power in that.
Free Resource to Help You Grow Closer to God
I hope that you’ll take this time to really consider how God is asking you to draw closer to Him and can encounter Him in a new way!
In an effort to help you discover God in a deeper way through Lent, we’ve created a resource for you called 40 Ways to Grow Closer to God This Year.
In this free Food for the Hungry resource, you’ll discover:
- 40 easy ideas for simplifying your life
- Short devotions for growing closer to God
- Ideas for changing the world with your prayers
- Fun recipes for the time between now and Easter
If God leads you in this direction, you may also want to consider a sacrificial gift to help people in poverty where Food for the Hungry serves.