And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:9–10 ESV)
Lent is a season of reflection and renewal for the 40 days leading up to Easter. Through spiritual practice and discipline, Lent prepares followers of Christ for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. Jesus Himself gave us an example of this when He spent 40 days and nights in the desert fasting, praying, and refusing to give in to Satan’s temptations at the start of His ministry (Matthew 4:1–11).
Isn’t it beautiful that in the tradition of Lent, we get to share in what our Lord and Savior practiced? The practice of Lent encourages us to slow down our busy lives and focus on our relationship with God. The three spiritual practices Jesus modeled in Matthew 4—fasting, prayer, and reflection on Scripture— are a great place for any family to begin. All of these disciplines create space for the focus to shift from self to God.
Fasting often refers to a restricted diet related to food. During Lent, many people practice fasting from food—giving up sweets, soda, or coffee. But fasting can also be a practice to forfeit TV time, FaceBook, social apps, eating out, or going to the movies. Fasting is not meant to harm or punish. Rather, the absence of those things is to make time to spend with God in prayer or Scripture reading.
Many of us think of prayer as our conversation with God—sharing with Him our troubles, celebrations, and petitions. If you are going to focus on prayer for the 40 days of Lent, challenge yourself to do something different than you usually do. Perhaps spend time in prayer for others and write them notes telling them you prayed for them. Start a prayer journal as a family, leaving it where any family member can add to it. Create a physical space for family members to practice listening for God. This can be a small space in your home with a simple Scripture verse to repeat aloud before praying.
Jesus grew up hearing and learning the Scriptures He used to defeat Satan in the desert. As a family, read together and memorize Scriptures that focus on the character of God, which can be an encouragement to you when tempted.
God Is Merciful—Ephesians 2:4
God Is Gracious—Romans 1:5
God Is Love—Deuteronomy 7:7–8
God Is Trustworthy—Numbers 23:19
God Is Wise—Romans 11:33
Easter Sunday brings closure to the 40 days of Lent, celebrating the resurrection of the Savior promised in Genesis. Jesus fulfilled every prophecy and promise God told His children throughout the Old Testament. Praise be to God!