To pray and fast … but what more can be done to meaningfully observe Lent?

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent.  For 40 days many Christians will more than likely pray, fast and/or give up something they think they can’t live without.  Things like chocolate, alcohol, potato chips, sex, TV or Coca Cola top some lists, but I feel if you only have a coke (or sex) three times a month it doesn’t really make sense fasting … just saying.

In addition to trying to fast from Facebook and Twitter (two things I just can’t seem to live without), I am prepared to sacrifice one of the most precious life gifts of all: time.  I never seem to have enough of it.  There’s always way too much to be done and I find myself running around like a chicken without a head most days.  Even so I know full well that time is valuable; that once spent it cannot be replenished, replaced or relived; that once it’s gone, it’s gone forever – so my goal for Lent is to sacrifice it (for lack of a better explanation) for 40 days.   

But what am I thinking of exactly?  I am going to consider doing things like:  

  • Teaching a child to read or colour a picture
  • Reading the bible or singing hymns to a senior citizen
  • Preparing a meal for a sick friend or relative
  • Baby-sitting for a single parent
  •  Sharing a kind word or hug 
  • Consciously deciding to be ‘in the moment’ with God, my dad, my son, my extended family and my friends instead of being distracted.

I don’t believe it has to be something super big or done in public or others to see; small but meaningful activities should be ok when someone needs our help, love and/or support.  

Even as I write this though, I am wondering if I should take it to another level by examining things in my life which may need to ‘die’ or be ‘crucified’ so that I might have ‘life’.  You know what I mean don’t you?  For example have you ever spoken to someone who lost a prestigious job or had their beautiful dream house repossessed?  Did the bailiff take their luxury car after saving 10 years to buy it?  Maybe they were mourning the loss of a relationship after a bitter divorce or unfortunate death after a terminal illness.  Whatever their wilderness season, did they not eventually come out victoriously on the other side of the valley … in the same way Jesus was raised from the dead?  Do they not sometimes say that their time in the wilderness was the best thing that ever happened to them when compared to the place God had brought them to afterwards?

We know that God is not just good; He is simply awesome!  He causes us to triumph in ways that are truly unimaginable and unfathomable.  A part of us may have to die or be crucified along the way yes, but we should never stop trusting in Him or waiting on Him patiently to work His amazing miracles in our lives. 

You may not totally agree with me, but feel free to share your thoughts by commenting on this post.  And whatever you eventually decide to do in observation of Lent, I encourage you to make it count – because one thing is for sure: life is short! 

He makes us to lie beside still waters


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Barbadian mother and lover of laughter; story teller and best-selling author; happy to follow God's lead and to live my mantra: "you've gotta be a rainbow in the lives of others when it rains."

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