Preparing for Lent

The season of Lent is considered a time of preparation and discipline.  While advent prepares us for the birth of Christ, Lent is a time when we prepare ourselves for Easter, the commemoration of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection.

In the early church, the 40 day period of Lent was a time when new converts to Christianity would prepare themselves for their baptism.  This period of preparation was marked by: taking vows of abstinence (choosing not to do something for a period of time) in order to physically discipline the body; devotion to prayer in order to spiritually align oneself with God; and almsgiving, performing acts of charity to demonstrate ones love for God through service.

Over time the tradition evolved to include old converts who would use the celebration of Lent as a means of remembering their own baptism, and re-dedicating themselves to Christ.

Today many Christians continue to observe lent as a way of spiritually realigning themselves by focussing on disciplines of reflection and repentance; and by making ‘vows’ which represent their resolve to live their lives differently.

When setting Lent goals the first thing many people often think of is:  What is something that I can handle giving up for 40 days?  While this can be valuable, it doesn’t quite get to the heart of what celebrating Lent is all about.  While giving things up can be an important part of the process, the real goal is seeing our lives transformed into a greater likeness of Christ.

If you’re considering setting your own goals for Lent, here are some questions that might help guide your process:

What area/aspect of my lifestyle/character do I most want to see change occur in?

What are some steps that I need to take in order to reach this goal?  (These could be things you need to do or things you need to stop doing.)

Which step could I action over the 40 day period of Lent to help me start moving closer to my goal?

How am I going to put this step into action?

Who are the people I need to talk to about my Lent goals so that they are able to help support me and keep me accountable to the decisions I have made?

*This post contains material originally published in the cession|community Lent Preparation Pack.  It is re-published here with the Author’s permission.