Lent is the forty days (not counting Sundays) preceding Easter. The word "Lent" is not a Biblical word, but it clearly has meaning for us who believe in the Bible as we prepare for the Victory day of Easter. "Lent" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word Lenctenspring which means . It is often interpreted to mean lengthen thus, Lent is the season of the year when the days are beginning to lengthen. The observance of the Lenten season began during the fourth or fifth century as a result of the early Christian's efforts to find ways to deepen their devotional approach to Easter. Periods of fasting and preparation lasting from a few hours to many days developed. By the ninth century, there was a general agreement on a period of forty days. Various reasons are given for the use of a forty-day period. Forty days was the amount of time that Jesus fasted in the wilderness. Forty days was also the period of time that Moses spent on Mount Sinai. Forty days was the time between the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus. There are forty days plus six Sundays in Lent. The six Sunday is Palm Sunday, which reminds us of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and marks the beginning of Holy week. Since every Sunday is a "little Easter," they are not counted in the numbered days of Lent. Sundays are In Lent but not of Lent.
What Does Lent Mean to Us
The Lenten Season is a time for us to re-live the intense type of spiritual experience like Jesus had in the wilderness before His public ministry. Those forty days were a time of intense thought and prayer. They were days in which Jesus had His initial battle with Satan and came out the Victor. In fact, His victory in the wilderness was a sign of triumph that His followers shared also. Most important, those days in the wilderness were a time when Jesus sought God’s will and discovered the purpose of His life in light of it.
Guides for Your Lenten Experience
USE A CALENDAR TO MARK THE DAYS-The Gospels make it clear that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit during these forty days. Like Jesus, we too must count upon the Holy Spirit to lead us in a special way during Lent. This means that we must be willing to wait upon His guidance and then follow where He leads. Jesus frequently called upon the Scriptures in the wilderness as he faced the decisions that He had to make. In the Scriptures, Jesus found insight and examples for meeting temptations and following God's call. We have the same Scriptures that Jesus had plus the New Testament. As you begin each day of Lent with prayer and Scripture, place a x on the calendar to mark the days of your journey. Remember the forty-day period does not include Sundays. This is an excellent time for you to read “Jesus Revealed” a 40-day devotional, and the last nine chapters of the Gospel of John. This will also allow parents an opportunity to talk to their children about suffering, disease, and death in light of the way Jesus faced the great problem. Let your children mark the x on the calendar each day and it will them to anticipate the Great Victory Day of Easter.
A DAY OF FASTING-Because fasting (abstinence from food) is such a special way of seeking the face of God, we suggest that you fast one day a week through the Lenten Season. Remember, fasting doesn't mean much unless it is link with fervent prayer. If you have never fasted before, this is a tremendous time for you to begin and see how God will speak to you more clearly when you seek His face this way.
CHURCH ATTENDANCE-Plan to have perfect attendance in worship for the six Sundays of Lent. If you do not have a home church we invite you to come and worship with us. Also INVITE your friends, relatives and neighbors.
TITHE- If you are not already tithing, we encourage you to try it through the next six Sundays of Lent. Tithing is returning 10% or ten cents of each dollar that we earn to God. Put the Lord first and tithing naturally follows. Make these six weeks a time of spiritual renewal as we prepare our hearts for Easter.