“Are you giving anything up for Lent?”
If no one has asked you this question yet, someone probably will soon.
But fasting from something isn’t the only thing that has characterised this historic 40-day season. It’s also marked by taking up things, such as prayer, confession and almsgiving.
In its very nature, Lent is about an individual’s spiritual disciplines. So it would be easy to think about Lent in a way that focuses on ourselves and our works. This is a danger, (and perhaps an objection to observing Lent for some) which pastor Aaron Damiani explores in his book The Good of Giving Up. Reflecting on his own initial cynicism about Lent, he writes:
“…observing Lent is not a forced march of works-righteousness. But it was good medicine for my autonomy, self-indulgence, spiritual independence, and the painful split between what I knew about God and what I experienced of Him.”
Lent is a great opportunity to be ‘re-oriented’ to God’s purposes and plans for your life. The spiritual disciplines of Lent are not an end in themselves, but a means to communion with God, and enjoying his wonderful gospel of grace. Damiani goes on to write:
“The Holy Spirit uses fasting, prayer, and generosity to satisfy us with God’s fatherly love. As a result, we are moved to share that love with others.”
Properly used, Lent doesn’t bend us further in on ourselves. Rather it lifts our gaze to our Heavenly Father who loves us. Not only that, its effects flow out to the world around us as we share this love with others.
At OMF, we exist to see this message of God’s radical love for sinners shared with the people of East Asia. There are still millions of people from this area of the world that have never even heard of Jesus. Did you know that you can be involved in this work during Lent without needing to get on a plane to a distant foreign land? One of the ways in which you can do this is through prayer.
“Prayer does not equip us for greater works— prayer is the greater work.”
This Lent, will you commit to praying for an unreached nation or people group?
If you’re not sure how to do this, we’ve made this as easy as possible through our weekly Lent emails. Why not consider subscribing? Every week of Lent you will receive a mini devotional, with prayer points for throughout the week.
By subscribing, you’ll be automatically entered into a draw to win one of five copies of ‘Praying for the World: Understanding God’s Heart for the Nations.’, a book of 60 undated devotionals with a focus on world mission. This prize draw is done in partnership with the good people at 10ofthose.com.