Five ways to experience Lent

by Kenny Lamm
Monday, February 16, 2015 | 6 yrs old

I grew up thinking the four major days of the church year were Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. They were certainly the days that seemed to receive the most excitement and attention.

Since my childhood, however, I have been exposed to and studied so many different traditions of worship, and I find that we often miss out on some wonderful worship experiences when we eliminate many of the significant days from the traditional church calendar.

Wednesday of this week is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of the season of Lent. This 40-day period is marked by a time of prayer and preparation to celebrate Easter. Lent culminates with Holy Week, beginning the Sunday before Easter and leading up to Easter Sunday.

The Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday, or Passion Sunday, and celebrates Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The Thursday before Easter is Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday and remembers the last supper. Good Friday is the day that we commemorate Christ’s death on the cross. Finally, Easter Sunday is a great day of celebrating the resurrection.

Lent has traditionally been marked by penitential prayer, fasting and giving. Some churches today still observe a rigid schedule of fasting on certain days during Lent, which is often accompanied by giving up meat, sweets or other types of food.

I often give up something during Lent. What I have discovered is that every time I crave the item I have given up, I think about the reason I am giving it up and focus on the suffering and death of Jesus. It is amazing how much this helps me focus and prepare for Easter.

In my opinion, Easter is an even greater celebration when we truly experience Lent. Yet for many who have never been exposed to the “real” church calendar, the idea may seem somewhat foreign.

Listed below, and included as a downloadable info graphic, are some simple ways to help you experience Lent. If this is your first year experiencing Lent, prayerfully consider just one or two things. Some ideas may give you thoughts to consider for next year.

  • Do a Bible reading plan with a friend.
  • Do a family devotional each day.
  • Fast from something in order to focus on prayer and seeking God.
  • Give sacrificially to those in need – thought money, time, energy or gifts.
  • Drive in silence. Spend your morning and evening in prayer.

Editor's Note: This article is adapted from a blog post by Kenny Lamm, senior consultant for worship and music for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. Read more of Kenny’s writings on the Renewing Worship blog.

Download the PDF.