Forty Ideas for Forty Days of Lent

Lent is a 40 day season (excluding Sundays) of fasting, prayer and self-examination that helps us reconnect with the power and impact of Jesus’ journey to the cross and the miracle of the empty tomb. The practice of Lent has been a Roman Catholic staple since the early 600’s and in the last two hundred years has become a meaningful practice of several Protestant denominations.

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday with the receiving of the ashen cross on the forehead or back of the hand as a symbol of repentance and the spoken words “from ashes we came and ashes we return.” 

Over the course of two blogs I want to share with you 40 ideas that I hope will help you engage in Lenten spiritual disciplines in your home and among your small group.  Add these ideas to your quiet time or daily practice. Some are questions to reflect upon, others are actions to be taken.  Here are the first twenty with the second group coming to you in a couple of weeks.

1. Ask yourself, when I wake up on Resurrection morning, how do I want to be different?
2. Is there a habit or sin in my life that is preventing me from loving God with my whole heart and my neighbor as myself? How will I address that issue before Easter?
3. What are some of the negative self-talk phrases I need to stop repeating? What scripture passages can I say repeatedly that speak to who God says I am?
4. Read the daily scriptures found on the back side of your message notes and daily journal your responses to the focus questions.
5. Commit to practicing a new spiritual discipline over the next 40 days.
6. Pray every morning, mid-day, midafternoon, evening meal and bedtime.
7. Pray through the lectio divina.
8. Somehow engage daily all of your senses: sight, sound, taste, smell and touch and journal your experiences.
9. Pray daily the John Wesley Covenant prayer as on your Lenten Bookmark.
10. How do I want Lent 2017 to impact the next 10 years of my life?
11. Daily read the posted Lenten Devotion on our Pathway Facebook link.
12. Create space during bedtime prayers for your children/grandchildren to talk about who God is to them.
13. Create space in your family schedule to listen to a worship song and discuss the message of the song or how the song made each of you feel.
14. Only Listen to Christian Music to and from work or school.
15. Read the writings of disciples like Augustine of Hippo, Francis of Assisi, Karl Barth, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Merton, Soeren Kierkegaard, John Calvin, John Wesley, C. S. Lewis, Pope Francis and Mother Teresa to name a few.
16.Memorize the Lord’s Prayer.
17. Abstain from eating meat during lent and considering giving the money you save to Birthday Gift to Jesus or use to fill a Red Bag with extra food for the hungry.
18. Purchase an inexpensive Rosary and use as a prayer guide. Hold the cross in the palm of your hands and use the five beads as a connecting visual to people or causes you are praying for.
19. Set aside an evening or even a full day and go on a mini pilgrimage. Find a quiet place in a church sanctuary, park, monastery, botanical gardens and reflect upon large sections of scripture like the Sermon on the Mount, The Psalms or I John.
20. Fast from speaking or posting on social media every day for a set time and focus on listening to God and others.

I don’t want to overwhelm you with all forty at once, so peruse this list and experiment as the Holy Spirit leads. I am looking forward to seeing what God does among us as we journey together during Lent 2017 towards the cross and empty tomb.

I am praying for you. Please pray for me.

Rick

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