Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.
Lent (which simply means “Spring”) has 1700 years of history. It involves 40 days of fasting, much as Jesus fasted for 40 days at the start of His ministry. And the purpose of fasting is always nothing other than seeking God in a fresh and deeper way; being more attentive to Him than we might usually be.
We break the fast every Sunday (because it’s the Lord’s Day—Resurrection Day), which explains why Lent actually lasts 46 days (if you count them up), finishing on Easter Sunday.
Each of us might choose a different kind of fast—caffeine (oh-oh, goodbye Starbucks) or Coke, or television, or late-night news, or Facebook (would we survive?), or something else. The key is to choose something that will serve as a daily symbol of our seriousness and a daily reminder to pray. You might want to give this some thought over the next seven days.
I’m a firm believer in the value of Lent. For the past decade it has been an annual boost to my walk with Christ. And when God’s people do such things together, He responds in surprising ways. When we understand Lent as a regular season of prayer and seeking the face of God each year, and when we see this as a tangible way to “die to ourselves that we might become more alive to Christ,” what could be better?
Would you join me this year?
If you’d like regular devotionals, some “coaching tips” along the way, and perhaps to share your stories, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the simple subject line “Count Me In for Lent” and I’ll include you in an email list (just for this season). Let’s do this journey together.
Why would we fast and pray?
It does not save us. Nor does it earn us special status in the Kingdom of God. It won’t turn us into spiritual giants. Nor will it give us special permission to bargain with God.
We fast and pray because He is worthy of our earnest attention and because this commitment creates space in our lives for Him to shape us and perhaps speak to us. It’s certainly not about legalism, but …
Because of Grace.