Lent was not a part of my spiritual upbringing. Not only did my church not embrace any sort of Lenten practices in preparation for Easter, I honestly can’t think of one person I knew who did.
I remember the first discussions I ever had with others about Lent centered whether we’d give up chocolate or coffee for those forty days. After a couple of years of denying myself Reese’s Cups or red meat, I had the sense I was missing something. Lent had to be more than just stepping away from sugar or caffeine.
So, I did what all former college debaters do, I began to research. And what I learned changed me.
Lenten Resources for You and Your Family
In the 4th century, Christians began a formalized practice dedicated to preparing their hearts for the fullness of the Easter celebration. Like Advent before Christmas, Lent is designed and intended to be an intentional time of readying oneself—inside and out—to grasp the fullness of Christ’s sacrifice.
For me, Lent became a deeply personal journey, a time of purposeful study and dogged confession. The giving up part of Lent led to a looking upward focus for me. Over the years, my fasting during Lent, while evident in what I’m not consuming, is merely an external reflection of a desperate internal relinquishing of bitterness, doubt, and fear that gain hold in my heart throughout the year.
Each day of Lent has become an opportunity for me to dig deeper into the Word and draw closer to the Lord, offering myself for His well-designed examination and well-intentioned conviction.
While that is my own experience, I’ve found many people are like I was for all those years — blissfully ignorant about the cost and gift of practicing Lent. Since one of my favorite things is to share resources with people, to suggest tools and processes to help us all grow deeper in our faith, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Lenten resources — for you and for your family.
Resources for You
God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter is hands down my favorite book about Lent. Each day’s readings are rooted in Scripture and end with prayer. In addition to daily readings, God For Us also provides historical information about practices related to Lent and Easter as well as current practices from a variety of Christian denominations.
Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement is written by my dear friend Kris Camealy. Sharing her own journey from broken (holey) through surrender (wholly) to the gift of grace (holy), Kris invites all who read to experience the same healing Christ offers.
Reflecting the Glory: Meditations for Living Christ’s Life in the World, written by N. T. Wright, is the book I’m adding to my Lenten practice this year. Highly recommended, these 53 meditations invite the reader to lean into the call of Christ to reach the world with the good news of His resurrection.
Resources for Your Family
I love being able to share this type of spiritual experience with my family and I’m sure many of you do as well. Here are two resources I recommend for inviting your children into your Lenten understanding and study.
She Reads Truth is one of my go-to places online for quality Bible study and great resources. This year’s Lenten study is based on the book of Isaiah (one of my favorites!). Titled “You Are Mine,” this 7-week study features several of my favorite writers and authors and will, I’m confident, be just as compelling and encouraging as the other She Reads Truth studies. In addition to the She Reads Truth study, there are companion studies for men (He Reads Truth) and a set of Kids Matching Cards designed to help you teach your children the prophecies of Jesus fulfilled in the book of Isaiah.
Sacred Holidays also offers a Lenten study for women, for couples, and for families. While I have not personally used any of the Sacred Holidays materials, I have very close friends who are huge fans of the composition and quality of these tools. “The Final Days of Jesus” offers you a way to connect your own Lenten study with your children as you help them understand the significance of Christ’s last days on earth.
Whether you grew up surrounded by traditional Lenten practices or you desire to introduce this beautiful season into your life for the first time, these resources will help you grasp the gravity and the grace of the Passion of Christ and lead you into a deeper commitment to walk with Him every day.
Choose one (or more) of these Lenten resources for you and your family — and experience the power of Christ’s sacrifice in a more profound way.Do you practice Lent? Check out these resources for you and your family. Click To Tweet
How have practices such as Lent helped you grow in your faith?
P.S. If you’re memorizing Scripture with me this year, be sure to leave a comment! This month’s verse is Proverbs 4:23 — Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.