The first day of Lent begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, and last 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays). Traditionally, the Lent season for some Christians is a period of fasting and repentance in preparation for Easter.
The reason for the 40 days is the references in the bible such as the flood (rained 40 days and nights); Moses fasted (40 days before receiving the ten commandments); the Israelites roamed the desert (40 years before reaching the promised land); and Jesus spent in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry (40 days fasting). Most Christians regard Jesus’ time in the wilderness as the key event for the duration of Lent.
Lent is more practiced by the Roman Catholics. There is no command in scripture that we should practice Lent. My church does not observe Lent either, but I wanted our family to use the season of Lent for spiritual reflection and contemplation. I wanted my children to get just as excited about Easter as Christmas, because it is just as important. Jesus’ birth isn’t the only gift to us, but His dying on the cross is our salvation and eternal gift.
This year I am committing to two devotions during the the season of Lent. One is to have daily family activities to work toward making our family Christ-centered. The second is to rise up earlier in the mornings to have personal devotional time with God. For myself, I want to use Lent to focus on my spiritual needs. I have even come up with a theme which is Pray, Run, Family.
Pray: I would like to bring my prayer more deeply into my heart. To have more quiet time with God. I am not a morning person, by any means, but waking up 30 minutes earlier than usual is the perfect way to begin my day with God. For me, this task requires more discipline, so that I can start off my day right.
Run: My running is another strong discipline in my life that I would like to continue. Running is also my prayer and praise time. My alone time. It keeps me healthy, strong, provides energy and a clear head, so I can be my best for my family. Like it or not, women create the mood in the household. I want my family to see God’s light in me and I want to keep joy in our home.
Family: The Scripture is pretty clear on the fact that we have a responsibility to be training our children in the truth. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train a child in the way he should go and it will not depart from him.” God expects us to be role models to our children by being in the Word and praying with and for our children. God does not expect us to be perfect and know all the answers — he just expects us to be available and to supply the resources for our children to grow and learn. On weekends, My husband and I have tried to be consistence on preparing and leading our family devotions. We’ve had great help from apps and websites to make them fun, exciting as well as age appropriate. Our boys love this time because we not only learn lessons from God’s word, but we always enjoy our time together.
I know that I may fail during these 40 days. I would love to come out of this Lent season a prayer warrior, stronger, and a happier family, but I know that this is a refining process. I am, however, expecting great things. My hopes for this season of Lent is that my 40 days of meditation will lead me to appreciate the suffering and death of Jesus even more, so that I will be able to cry out like David in Psalm 51:9-10, “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, Oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Blessing to you and your family during this Easter season. May you be encouraged to draw closer to God and remember the reason for this season.