By Cherie Werner
Forty is a significant number in the Bible. There were 40 days and nights of rain while Noah was aboard the ark. The Israelites spent 40 years roaming the desert. Moses spent 40 days on the mountain with God . . . twice. Jesus fasted and prayed for 40 days before he began his ministry.
With that in mind, we will soon begin the season of Lent, the 40-day period leading up to Easter. It starts with Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday. Technically, it covers more than 40 days but each Sunday is considered a “mini Easter,” so those days are not counted as part of the 40 days.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting, prayer, and preparation for the glorious Resurrection of our Lord. This year, consider making these 40 days a time of intentional preparation for Easter; a time to remember God’s grace and mercy, forgiveness and love.
The calendar below has several different types of activities to help you. There are days of prayer (P), self-denial or fasting (F), service (S), extra time spent in the Word (W), and thanksgiving (T). There is also time for celebration (C) on each Sunday’s mini Easter.
The ideas are in no particular order—you may rearrange them as you like. Also, these ideas are simply suggestions—feel free to substitute activities that best suit your faith journey.
See you at the empty tomb!
February 14 (Ash Wednesday) (P)
Take time to recognize your own sinfulness. Pray for God’s forgiveness and thank him for his grace and mercy. Continue your day knowing you are loved and forgiven because of what Jesus did for you on Calvary’s cross.
February 15 (F)
Drink only water today. Each time you’re tempted to drink something more indulgent, say a prayer praising Jesus for the obedience he showed by living a perfect life in your place.
February 16 (S)
Send a handwritten letter to a shut-in or elderly person.
February 17 (T)
Thank God for the blessing and convenience of electricity.
February 18 (C)
Find several praise songs to sing. Celebrate God’s grace and mercy for you.
February 19 (W)
Read Psalm 51. Memorize verses 10-12.
February 20 (P)
Pray that God would raise up strong spiritual leaders in your church and around the world.
February 21 (F)
Don’t eat meat today. Follow the prayer guideline from February 15.
February 22 (S)
Think about someone who needs a pick-me-up and anonymously have lunch delivered to his or her office.
February 23 (T)
Make a list of family and friends. Say a prayer of thanks for all the love in your life.
February 24 (W)
Read 1 Corinthians 13. Think about God’s love for you. Ask him to strengthen your spirit as you show his love to others.
February 25 (C)
Choose a psalm and add your own melody. Sing it over and over until you remember it.
February 26 (P)
Pray for persecuted Christians around the world.
February 27 (F)
Do not watch TV today. Follow the prayer guideline from February 15.
February 28 (S)
Think about someone you know who needs a friend. Invite that person out for coffee and listen intentionally. If it feels appropriate, pray with the person before your time together is over.
March 1 (T)
Think about a recently answered prayer. Take time to say a specific prayer of thanksgiving to your heavenly Father.
March 2 (W)
You probably have John 3:16 memorized. Take time to memorize verse 17 also.
March 3 (P)
Pray that God would strengthen the marriages in your family, church, and community.
March 4 (C)
Take time to sit alone with God. Rejoice in the fact that you are his child. He loves you and is always with you.
March 5 (F)
Don’t snack between meals today. Follow the prayer guideline from February 15.
March 6 (S)
Make a care package for a college student, missionary, or member of the armed forces.
March 7 (T)
Think about a difficult situation in your life. In the middle of that struggle, what are three things for which you can be thankful? Even though you can’t see the outcome yet, thank God for the things he is already doing to help this situation.
March 8 (W)
Read Romans 8. Remember that you have freedom in Christ and nothing can separate you from his love.
March 9 (P)
Pray for those who care for the sick and dying.
March 10 (F)
Don’t eat any sweets today. Follow the prayer guideline from February 15.
March 11 (C)
Put on your favorite praise music and dance!
March 12 (S)
Send someone flowers.
March 13 (T)
Think about your job. What are three things for which you are thankful?
March 14 (W)
Memorize Romans 12:1–2.
March 15 (P)
Pray for abused and neglected children.
March 16 (F)
Stay off social media today. Follow the prayer guideline from February 15.
March 17 (S)
Write your favorite words of Scripture on index cards. Leave them in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, in books at the library, on the table at a restaurant, in a public restroom, around your office, or at your child’s school.
March 18 (C)
Just sit and enjoy the sunrise or sunset. Praise God that some things never change.
March 19 (T)
Thank God that you have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to live.
March 20 (W)
Read Isaiah 53. Memorize verse 5.
March 21 (P)
Pray that seeds of faith will grow strong in the hearts of the children in your family and church family.
March 22 (F)
Don’t drink coffee or soda today. Follow the prayer guideline from February 15.
March 23 (S)
While in line at a fast-food restaurant, coffee shop, or grocery store, pay for the bill for the person behind you.
March 24 (T)
Thank God for your neighbors. What can you do to get to know them better and share the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection with them?
March 25 (C)
Take a nature walk. Pay attention to everything around you. Listen for the birds, feel the air on your face, look at the beauty of creation. Praise God for the beautiful world he has created for you. Praise Jesus for being the Savior of that world.
March 26 (W)
Read Jesus’ final words to his disciples the night before he died: John 13–17.
March 27 (P)
Pray for your pastors and ministers of music this week.
March 28 (F)
Don’t use electronics today (except for while you’re working). Follow the prayer guideline from February 15.
March 29 (S)
Give someone else your place in line.
March 30 (T)
Thank God for the gift of his Son, who was willing to go to the cross in your place.
March 31 (W)
Memorize 2 Corinthians 5:17.
April 1(Easter) (C)
Celebrate, rejoice, and praise the Lord! Jesus is alive!