Lent is a 40-day church season that starts on Ash Wednesday (6-1/2 weeks before Easter) and ends on Easter Saturday, the day before Easter. Sundays are excluded from the count because every Sunday is a reminder of Christ’s resurrection and in that way, a mini Easter.
The 40 days are a reminder of the 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness after his baptism and before beginning his ministry. During this time, he fasted, prayed, and battled with Satan, who was trying to pull him away from the work God had called him to do. See Matthew 4:1-11, a very brief account in Mark 1:11-12, and another account in Luke 4:1-12 (all in NLT).
Traditionally, Lent has been a time for praying, fasting, and giving to the poor as a means to prepare us spiritually to appreciate the joy of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. The following resources can help us.
Lent 101: Here are the basics of Lent from The Upper Room.
What Ash Wednesday and Lent Are All About, from the Colson Center (podcast and transcript).
“Viewing Lent Through New Eyes”: a story by Pauline Doerkson that tells how she discovered that Lent is about receiving grace, not doing the right things to make yourself good.
The Lent Project is from Biola University’s Centre of Christianity, Culture, and the Arts. Every day during Lent (including Sundays) they put out a devotional consisting of a Scripture passage, artwork, music, poetry, and a devotional. You can find them online or sign up to have them emailed to you. (The artwork appears day by day on the calendar during Lent.)
Right Now Media has a number of video series appropriate for Lent (as well as MANY for Easter). You need an account to watch them, but if you are affiliated with our church, you can sign up for a free account from our website. Here are a few of the Lenten videos:
- The Lent Experience by Eric Ferris takes you through the various traditional observances of Lent.
- Holy Week Pilgrimage by Graham Tomlin takes you on a tour of all of the significant parts of the Holy Land in this Easter season.
- He Chose the Nails by Max Lucado talks about the significance of what Jesus did on the cross for us.
- When I Lay My Isaac Down by Carol Kent talks about keeping faith during the most unthinkable of circumstances.
Wycliffe Bible Translators have a free Lenten devotional that you can sign up for. It looks at the last words of Jesus as a way to help us contemplate his death and coming resurrection.
A Rocha, Christian environmental organization, offers these Lenten resources:
- a weekly Lent prayer resource based on God’s Creation.
- Connecting to Creation through Lent, a devotional with suggestions for creation-friendly ways to reflect during this season
If you know of more good Lent resources, please let me know so I can add them to this page. Thank you!
Photo Credits (all on Unsplash):
- ash cross on forehead by Ahna Ziegler
- bread, crucifix and water by Kamil Szumotalski
- praying hands on Bible by Olivia Snow
- watching TV by Phillip Goldsberry
- Bible on pathway by Aaron Burden