We have now entered the season of Lent. If you haven’t picked a practice to focus on yet, it’s not too late. Some of you may opt for a more traditional fast for Lent, which is wonderful. If you haven’t already, read my original post on giving up and taking on things for Lent. If you’re still unsure, in this post, you’ll find some less conventional ideas of practices to adopt for Lent.
Remember that this Lenten season is for the purpose of repenting of the sins and idols in our hearts, solemnly remembering the sufferings of Christ, and humbly and prayerfully embracing the hard work of God in our lives. It is a season of prayer and sacrifice. Remember that these practices can be helpful to develop long-lasting habits and attitudes. The goal in all of this is that we would be shaped ever more into the likeness of Christ. Allow this to guide you as you consider a Lenten practice that will speak to how the Lord is working on you.
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Give something away every day. It can be a possession or money or something as simple as a compliment or a smile. You could buy an extra coffee or newspaper and give it to someone else.
Pray for strangers. Pray for those in line with you at the store, in cars around you on the highway, sitting in the waiting room, on the news, etc.
Fast from complaining and negative talk. In place of whining, impolite, or negative words, try to replace them with compassionate, gracious, or uplifting words and comments.
Meet and build relationships with your neighbors. You could take them cookies, invite them over, or host a neighborhood game night.
Give up your place. Consider Jesus’ example, taking the position of a servant, and consider others better than yourself (Phil. 2). Allow people in front of you in line, in traffic. Don’t fight to be first. Intentionally take the lower “seat” or position, putting others before you in a place of honor.
Thank someone every day. Express your gratitude to those who regularly serve you (mail service, trash collectors, baristas, mechanics, etc.). Write a note to your pastor or ministry leaders, to those in local government, or community group leader. These thank yous can be in person or in writing.
Make your room or home a desert, to remember Jesus’ 40 days of temptation in the desert. Remove pictures, trinkets, rugs, all but the essential items.
Simplify your wardrobe. Consider slimming down to ten percent of your outfits or choosing only 10 items (not including underwear, socks, and a coat) to wear for Lent. At the end of Lent, considering donating some of your excess to those in need.
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Do you have any other ideas of unique Lenten practices?