40 Ideas for Keeping a Holy Lent

Lent begins next week on Ash Wednesday, February 14, so it is time to consider how God may be leading you to participate in this season of repentance and renewal as we prepare for Easter. During the season of Lent the church focuses on the commands of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:1-17) by fasting, praying, and giving. Here are a 40 ideas to help you prepare for the season ahead.

1) Find out what Lent is and what it is not. The Good of Giving Up: Discovering the Freedom of Lent, Aaron Damiani 

2) Pray the Daily Office each day during Lent. You can read or listen along with other Anglicans. thetrinitymission.org

3) Learn more about fasting. Hint: it’s not a diet or a hunger strike. Fasting, Scot McKnight

4) Commit to try a new spiritual discipline. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation, Ruth Haley Barton

5) Look for God in the ordinary things you do each day. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life, Tish Harrison Warren

6) Set an alarm on your phone and pray the Jesus Prayer throughout your day. orthodoxprayer.org

7) Visit the Museum of Biblical Art to walk through the Via Dolorosa Sculpture Garden.

8) Carry a small prayer book with you to use throughout the day. Hour by Hour, Edward S. Gleason

9) Change your mode of transportation. dart.org

10) Plant an Easter Garden or plant bulbs that will bloom during Easter.

11) Fast from food on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

12) Listen to a Lenten album like Lent to Maundy Thursday by Page CXVI.

13) Drape a cross in your home with purple fabric or remove a piece of art your regularly enjoy until Easter.

14) Learn how to give generously by identifying with the poor during Lent. 40 Days of Solidarity with the Poor, Chris Seay

15) Print a calendar for Lent so that you can count down to Easter with your children. Lenten calendar

16) Listen to the Stations of the Cross in song. Songs for Lent, New York Hymns

17) Read the Gospel of John with your family and create ornaments for a Jesus Tree, like an Advent Jesse Tree.

18) Limit your wardrobe to what you can fit in one suitcase as a reminder to pray for refugees and other displaced people.

19) Explore the meaning of Lent with your children with this lovely book:  Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter, Laura Alary.

20) Raise money for clean water by drinking only water during Lent. charitywater.org

21) Give away one item in your home that would bless someone else each day during Lent.

22) Meditate on one word a day with a book of simple practices for Lent. Pauses for Lent: 40 Words for 40 Days, Trevor Hudson

23) Pray for and write encouraging letters to friends and family.

24) Stock your car with supplies to give to people who are homeless.

25) Practice a daily Ignatian Examen to guide you through self-examination. Try this app.

26) Let the wise saints who have gone before us guide you through Lent with this devotional book:  Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter.

27) Make pretzels in the shape of arms folded in prayer. kingarthurflour.com

28) Take seriously the call to forgive others as we have been forgiven. Who do you need to forgive this season?

29) Read a novel or poetry during Lent with themes about death, repentance, and renewal. Consider Flannery O’ Connor, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, or Scott Cairns.

30) Or start with this wonderful devotional that weaves together prayer, scripture, and literature:  Between Midnight and Dawn: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Lent, Holy Week, and Eastertide, Sarah Arthur.

31) Keep part of your day silent. Consider keeping your car quiet for your commute or leaving your earbuds home when you exercise.

32) Make a Lenten playlist with songs about repentance and returning to the Lord. Or listen to Restoration’s Lenten playlist.

31) Offer your worry and anxiety to the Lord in a prayer journal.

32) Learn a new prayer from the Book of Common Prayer, like the Prayer of Self-Dedication, with your family.

33) Spend Lent reading C.S. Lewis’ Preparing for Easter.

34) Read the Gospels in 40 days with a Bible reading plan from Bible Gateway.

35) Choose movies about a Lenten journey like The Way, Wild, or The Hobbit.

36) Create or update your Rule of Life. Get a quick start guide or take a deep dive with God in My Everything, Ken Shigematsu.

37) Plan to join our Lenten adult Sunday school class before our worship service to work on your Rule of Life with others.

38) Do without meat on Fridays. vegetariantimes.com

39) Be intentional about your use of technology. The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place, Andy Crouch

40) Feast on Sundays! The six Sundays in Lent are not part of the fast. Honor God by feasting and celebrating on Sunday.