“”Then he said to them all:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” “
Lent is a time to make ourselves strong in the Lord. To renew us in our fight against sin. To do this we must deny ourselves and gain self control. Self control is what helps us to say no to the sin and temptations that surround us. We live in a war zone. There is a very real spiritual battle happening around us. Satan is battling for our souls. Jesus has already triumphed over him, however, we still have to do our part in the fight.
There are three pillars of Lent that can help us gain that self control… Fasting, Praying and Almsgiving.
The first pillar truly is about self denial. It is giving up something as a sacrifice to show our love for Jesus and appreciation for His ultimate sacrifice. The point isn’t just to give it up, but to replace it with thanksgiving to Him. Make a list of things that you will sacrifice this lent and post them as a reminder. When you see the list or are tempted to give in to the temptation say a prayer of thanksgiving.
Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice.
I know that you call us to do things that are sometimes hard.
May I have the self-control and the strength it brings to resist this temptation.
Help your children make a list also. I like the idea of a sacrifice box to help get the little ones involved in fasting.
The second pillar is about reconnecting with God. No relationship can work without communication. Staying in His Word and prayer are great ways to rebuild or strengthen your relationship with your Creator. During Lent (and beyond) make it a habit to spend quiet time with Him each day and throughout the day.
Here are some ideas…
- Pray the “Our Father”. This prayer was given to us by Jesus himself as an example of what our prayer life should look like. Remember, the purpose isn’t just to say the words and then check it off our list. It is to slow down and focus on what those words mean.
- Pray the Rosary as a family. Help your kids make a special Rosary to use this lent.
- Help your children develop a healthy prayer life. We use “Praying in Color” with our girls and they love it!
- Another helpful reminder of how we should pray is the 5 finger prayer.
The final pillar is giving to others and treating them well. There are so many needs that surround us each day. The good news is that God has given all of us special talents to reach those needs. Make an effort this Lent to go out of your comfort zone and your convenience zone to help others.
Make an Alms giving jar to fill with coins this Lent. Then donate them to a ministry that helps others in need like a food pantry, clothing closet or shelter. Volunteer somewhere! Go to a nursing home and just visit with the elderly to lift their spirits. Donate items to a charity that will help distribute them. Most of all, just so LOVE to all those that God puts in your path each day.
I hope that these ideas help you to focus in on the true purpose of Lent and that you draw closer to Him. Happy Lent!