If you’re new to church, Lent might be one of those words you’ve heard around and don’t quite get. After all, it’s pretty hard to work it out from the name alone.
So if you are fresh in, don’t panic! It’s a period of time (40 days) when over one billion Christians across the world will draw closer into God’s presence through devotion, prayer and, often, fasting.
It resonates with Jesus’ own experience after he was baptised by John and went off into the wilderness to pray and fast for 40 days before beginning his three-year ministry, which would lead him to the cross (Easter).
A number of us choose to give up a little luxury as a way to fast, such as chocolate, sweets or some kind of food or drink to cultivate a contrite and humbled heart towards what God in response for what he has done for each of us.
Here are four simple ideas that might help in your own personal journey through Lent to Easter.
Read a Lent book. Buy Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace by Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury. (This is one book I shall be reading myself.)
Sign up to Tearfund’s daily Lent reflections, Living Water.
Subscribe to 24-7 Prayer podcast, Stories from the Wilderness.
Pick up the How Well is Your Soul booklet on Sunday morning from the Welcome Point (special price: £2.00).
This Lent we will also be beginning a new message series called Picture This, based on some writings by King Solomon, found in the book in the Bible called Ecclesiastes, who, let’s just say, had a thing or two to say about life! We’ll explore some of the themes together leading up to Easter and discover what a life might look like directed by God.
Finally, a prayer for Lent.
Ageless one, who created time
And is sovereign over its every passing moment –
Be near to us at this point of time.
Help us to look around and celebrate all you have done
And all you have accomplished through us
To build your kingdom of justice and peace.
Empower us to also face the disappointment
And holy frustration of the change we have yet to see
And the injustice that continues to rob so many of their future.
And above all, fill us with your Spirit
That we might look to the year ahead with hope, determination and love
For we need your perspective as we continue to work with you
For an end to poverty, and a future for all.