What is Lent and How Do I Prepare?

40 days online

What is Lent?

The season of Lent is a solemn time of prayer, fasting, and self-examination in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of the Lord at Easter.  It is celebrated by religions that use the Liturgical calendar as we do as Presbyterians.  Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans, etc are also Liturgical faiths.  Some Anabaptists and Evangelical churches celebrate Lent as well.

It is a period of 40 days — like the flood of Genesis, Moses’ sojourn at Mount Sinai, Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb, Jonah’s call to Ninevah to repent and Jesus’ time of testing in the wilderness.  It begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter.  However, the Sundays in Lent are not counted in this reckoning of the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter, as every Lord’s Day is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the early church, Lent was a time of preparation for the celebration of baptism at the Easter Vigil. In many communities of faith, it remains a time to equip and nurture candidates for baptism and confirmation and to reflect deeply on the theme of baptismal discipleship.  The odd-sounding name comes from the Anglo-Saxon “lencten” meaning “spring.” The Latin name is “Quadragesima,” which means “fortieth.”

The first historical mention of Lent was at the Council of Nicea in the year 325. Christmas was first mentioned at Nicea in 354, which means that Lent even predates Christmas.

How do I prepare?

Lent is a time of preparation and reflection. Many Christians give something up. Others create a new habit in order to share in Jesus’s life of service and self-denial. As you consider how you will observe Lent this year, here are some ideas you might want to consider:

  • Observe our online Lenten Calendar with daily practices to observe Lent.
  • give up a bad habit that takes your time or health from Christ and his service.
  • establish a new habit, such as scripture reading, family devotion time or something similar.
  • inhibit luxury spending and save the money for a special offering or mission project instead.
  • pray and ask God how he would lead you for this Lenten season.
  • reflect on the kind of person and Christian that you would like to be and make your Lenten sacrifice accordingly.


We would love to have you join us in celebration of this wonderful season in our 40 Days of Lent, an online Lenten Calendar with daily practices to observe Lent.

You can find it by clicking on this link, or joining our Facebook page for daily reminders.