1. Pause from your daily routine.
This year on February 26th, believers all over the world will participate in Ash Wednesday, commencing the start of Lent. Lent typically spans about 40 days, promptly starting the day after Ash Wednesday. Lent signifies the palms that civilians laid down at the feet of Jesus when He entered Jerusalem and ends on Easter Sunday – the day that Jesus returns! The 40 days represent the time Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness. This precious time is given to us to first pause, and recognize the hurry in our life. Too often, we spend our days planning for the next day, without pausing to remember God’s goodness in our life. As this Lent season kicks off today, take time to first pause from your busy day-to-day routine. See if the Lord has put anything in your path that you might be overlooking.
“At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” -Mark 1:12-15
2. Pray earnestly.
Heading into the Holy Week, take the time to ask God, ‘What can I do to honor you?’, and ‘How do you want me to do it?’. Be open to new, transcending ways of worship that the Lord might have in store for you. By fully experiencing Lent, the Lord asks us to cut something out to make more room to pursue God’s goodness in our lives. Is that the temptation of social media or streaming platforms like Netflix, that cut in on your time with Jesus? Perhaps rather than running to God, you run to sugar, food, or even exercise as a way to disguise your need. Press into what is distracting you from the Lord in this season–and prayerfully consider what you can practice giving up during Lent.
Take this divine time to pray, not only for yourself and for your needs, but for those who are in desperate need. Here are four prompts to pray for the world, whether it’s for children impacted by the devastating impacts of war, who are food or water-insecure, or for individuals who are living outside of the Lord’s love. As we go into this period together, remember to pray and lift up the needs of others to our Heavenly Father.
3. Go in with gratitude.
Really give yourself to the process that Lent invites, with a grateful spirit. Give thanks to Him for allowing us to partake in such a symbolic experience. Personally, I am choosing to dive into this season with an overflowing heart of gratitude. While we give as well as receive, it’s also important to remember who these gifts are from. Let’s live in gratitude during this time, especially counting our blessings despite what may be going on in the world around us. Thank Him for all we have, and for all we are able to do. Amen!
4. Give generously.
There are many ways God asks us to give. In certain seasons of life, it can be our time, our devotion, or our love for other things or people that are not God. Maybe you don’t typically celebrate Lent, and feel like there is nothing you want to necessarily give up. Perhaps instead, you can give. The Lord asks us to give what and where we can, no matter the shape or size.
This season, consider giving a sacrificial gift to help people in poverty where Food for the Hungry currently serves. If we are mindful of what we give or give up for Lent, we can then enter this season purposefully as well as wholeheartedly. This allows space for God to work through us for the kingdom. By sponsoring a child in poverty, you can also continue to practice the year-round reflection of mindfulness around our possessions, and sharing the love of Christ with a boy or girl as FH works to lift up entire communities.
“If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.” -Deuteronomy 15:7-8
5. Serve with your time, talents, or treasure.
If we’re honest, it’s easy to overlook Lent. It’s easy to change nothing in our daily routine and say that we did. Or, we become lazy with our chosen atonement and revert back to our normal ways before the 40 days is over. Challenge yourself this year to pursue God with greater intensity. Whether that looks like fasting from food or certain drinks, choose to submerge into the Word through consistent prayer and study. Perhaps you are already a charitable person. Maybe the Lord is challenging you to join Food for the Hungry in going above and beyond with your generosity, or increasing your service to the local church. Choose to serve in a way that glorifies God, and challenges your spirit in a new and creative way.
6. Reflect on the season.
Finally, reflect on your experience during Lent. Reflect on what God might be asking of you during Lent, and reflect on what He has put in your path moving forward. During the 40 days, think back to the moments in which God has spoken to you. What challenges is he calling you through in this season? Where is he asking you to let go, and where is he asking you to trust him? How can you increasingly serve and worship him? Ultimately, think about how practicing Lent has changed your spirit. Whatever God has placed on your heart this season, dive into it so that when Easter arrives, we can celebrate Him fiercely!
How are you mindfully seeking God during this Lent season?
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