Lenten Spiritual Practices

February 18, 2021 2:09 pm

Lent is a forty-day season that begins with Ash Wednesday during which we prepare our hearts for Jesus’ death and resurrection. Like Advent, Lent has certain traditions we might use personally or in worship to observe this season. It is common in Christianity for people to practice fasting during Lent. Fasting, most commonly from food, but also from another practice or obsession, “reveals our excessive attachments and the assumptions that lie behind them. Food is necessary to life, but we have made it more necessary than God. How often have we neglected to remember God’s presence when we would never consider neglecting to eat! Fasting brings us face to face with how we put the material word ahead of its spiritual Source,” writes Marjorie J. Thompson in Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life. Others chose to observe Lent by adopting a practice such as writing a daily thank you note, dedicating time for prayer, or keeping a journal. 

Another practice you may use is reading or listening to a daily devotional. Below I’ve listed five suggestions of devotionals for Lent this year: 

  1. Pick up a devotional book from the church during the week when the office is open. 
  2. Subscribe to #picturelent an intergenerational devotional featuring visual reflections. 
  3. Michigan Conference’s Inter-Generational Lenten Calendar called “Upside Down Lent.”
  4. Subscribe to “Be Still and Go,” a Podcast from The Riverside Church.
  5. Engage in anti-bias/Anti-racism work each day with these 40 prompts by Brittany Stephen, Michigan Conference’s Director of Cultural Vibrancy.
  6. Watch weekly devotional videos at Dismantling Racism: Lent Devotions By Our Bishops produced by the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. 

It’s never too late to begin a Lenten practice! I think you’ll find that observing Lent will draw you closer to God and others, making Easter that much more joyful.