Lent is the 40 day period, excluding Sundays, that begins on Ash Wednesday (March 6) and concludes on Holy Saturday (April 20). The 40 day period is meant to remind us of the 40 days Christ spent in the desert in fasting and prayer before starting His earthly ministry. It has been a time for reflection and renewal by Christians for centuries in preparation for Easter. Through repenting, praying, fasting, giving, and serving others, we draw closer to Christ by identifying with His journey to the cross and remembering the ultimate expression of love. Henri Nouwen called it “a time of returning to God.” It is a time for us to say "no" to self and "yes" to Jesus more fully.
This year, we invite you to seek God with all your heart and experience renewal. Lent isn't just about creating space and using it well. It is also reflecting on Scripture, listening to the Holy Spirit, repenting, and returning to Christ. It is rediscovering the wonder of Jesus’ sinless life, brutal death, and glorious resurrection. Matthew 6 provides some concrete disciplines that could loosen the grip of sin in our lives. Consider:
How will I give? (Matthew 6:2,3)
How will I pray? (Matthew 6:5-13)
Who do I need to forgive and from whom do I need to seek forgiveness? (Matthew 6:14-15)
How will I fast? What do I need to abstain from in order to create more freedom and space for God? (Matthew 6:16-18)
Where is my treasure—really—as it is reflected in how I use my time, financial resources and energy? Is there any specific way in which God is inviting me to “let go” of my attachment to some earthly treasure in order to more intentionally invest in that which is eternal? (Matthew 6:19-21)
Lent isn't about doing something for the sake of doing something or not doing something for the sake of not doing something. Lent is meaningful when it is approached as making extra room for God. How could these disciplines and choices open up more time for you to hear from Christ, identify with Christ, and become more like Christ? What spiritually meaningful routine could you add (click the link for ideas) to your daily life as a disciple that will help you seek God, identify with Christ, and experience renewal?
On this page you will find a list of scriptures and resources that you can use throughout this season to deepen your relationship with Jesus.
Begin the season by asking 2 simple questions in quiet reflection with the Lord:
Lord, what would You have me give up for Lent this year?
And, what would You have me take up?
It may be helpful for you to journal as you ask these questions and then listen. Resist the urge to "fill in the blanks." Don't jump to conclusions or make a plan based on what you think God is saying before He's done saying it. Let God speak and direct you.
Readings for Ash Wednesday (March 6):
Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17; II Corinthians 5:20b-6:10 and Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Readings for the First Sunday in Lent (March 10):
Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7, Psalm 32, Romans 5:12-19, Matthew 4:1-11
Readings for the Second Sunday in Lent (March 17):
Genesis 12:1-4a, Psalm 121, Romans 4: 1-5, 13-17, John 3:1-17
Readings for the Third Sunday in Lent (March 24):
Exodus 17:1-7, Psalm 95, Romans 5:1-11, John 4:5-42
Readings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent (March 31):
1 Samuel 16:1-13, Psalm 23, Ephesians 5:8-14, John 9:1-41
Readings for the Fifth Sunday in Lent (April 7):
Ezekiel 37: 1-14, Psalm 130, Romans 8: 6-11, John 11:1-45
Readings for the Sixth Sunday (Palm Sunday) in Lent (April 14):
Isaiah 50: 4-9a, Psalm 31: 9-16, Philippians 2:5-11, Matthew 26: 14-27:66
Readings for the Monday of Holy Week (April 15):
Isaiah 42: 1-9, Psalm 36: 5-11, Hebrews 9:11-15, John 12: 1-11
Readings for the Tuesday of Holy Week (April 16):
Isaiah 49: 1-7, Psalm 71: 1-14, 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, John 12:20-36
Readings for the Wednesday of Holy Week (April 17):
Isaiah 50: 4-9a, Psalm 70, Hebrews 12: 1-3, John 13:21-32
Readings for Maundy Thursday (April 18):
Exodus 12:1-4 (5-10), 11-14, Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, John 13: 1-17, 31b-35
Readings for Good Friday (April 19):
Isaiah 52:13-53:12, Psalm 22, Hebrews 10:16-25, John 18:1-19:42
Readings for Holy Saturday (April 20):
Job 14:1-14, Psalm 31: 1-4, 15-16, 1 Peter 4:1-8, Matthew 27: 57-66
BibleGateway.com provides multiple Lent focused devotionals and reading plans delivered via email each day. Check the options out here to sign up.
The Bible App (Youversion.com) has a wide array of choices. Check them out here.
Christianity Today offers an Easter devotional titled Journey to the Cross that is designed to help individuals, families, and churches reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus and grow in their devotion to the Savior. Ideal for the weeks leading up to or directly following Easter, it features 10 readings by Christianity Today contributors and editors that can be used as 9-week guide or as 10 daily readings. You can download the resource for free here, but you have to provide your email address.
A free 40 day devotional e-book from FaithGateway is available. Blessings of the Cross will walk you through the Gospel accounts on the life of Jesus and His difficult road during the final weeks before his crucifixion via Scripture and devotional thoughts from Billy Graham, Max Lucado, Stormie Omartian, and Ann Graham Lotz. Get the ebook here. Note that an email is required to download it.
Prayer & Fasting
During the season of Lent, we are designating Tuesdays as a day of prayer and fasting. We invite your for forego your mid-day meal and spend time on Tuesdays in prayer for the revival of our passion for Jesus as disciples and the Spirit’s renewal of our church, community, region, and nation. It’s not about our own ability or righteousness, but God’s grace in freeing us to refocus on Him. The church Prayer Room will be available throughout the day.
A selection of online articles about Lent, the meaning of Lent, and how to observe it both individually and as a family.
WEEKLY LENTEN GUIDE
Interested in some practical ideas of spiritual disciples to do during Lent? Then download this Weekly Lenten Guide. It contains a suggested spiritual discipline to practice for each day of the week with explanation and some Scriptures to ponder.
A few Spotify playlists focused on the season of Lent:
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word. And, to make a right beginning of repentance, and as a mark of our mortal nature, let us now kneel before the Lord, our maker and redeemer. - The Book of Common Prayer