A Guide to Keeping a Good Lent | St Barnabas Ealing

A Guide to Keeping a Good Lent

Published by JJ Jung on Fri, 1 Mar 2019 11:41

A brief guide to keeping a good Lent

Lent has been described as the season for the imperfect. In this sense keeping a good Lent is first an attitude of humility. Symbolically we enter the desert with Jesus for 40 days. Here the very present evil of our world and the fragility of our humanity is brought into focus as Jesus is tempted by the devil.


The collective wisdom of Christianity offers a trinity of prayer, fasting and giving to help us recognise the sins that keep us turned away from God’s unconditional love.


Praying: Conscious connection with God

·     Spend a few minutes every day just focussing on the presence of God

·     Gives thanks daily for something small or big you are grateful for

·     Try the pre-recorded guided prayers at www.pray-as-you-go.org


The spiritual writer Margaret Silf suggests that the basic task of prayer is like a satellite dish adjusting its position to receive a strong signal. When we pray, we are adjusting our inner life, our soul, towards God who is already present. You don’t need the ‘right words’ (or any words for that matter) or even a well-formed list of requests. 


Fasting: A detox or a detour  

·     Change a habit - quit the cigarettes, online binge shopping, coffee for 40 days 

·     Social media detox – sign out and take a deep breath 

·     Throw out/donate 40 things for 40 days – identify 40 things you don’t use or need


Fasting is an ancient practice in all faith traditions. Its medical and psychological benefits are now being proven through empirical research. Lent offers the opportunity to let go of something you find yourself clinging to in your daily life. Only you know what that is. What might you give up in order to deepen your connection with yourself, others and God?   


Giving: A gift that costs you

·     Take a lent box home and support our charities with any spare money

·     Volunteer at charity – for example the Winter Night Shelter 

·     Make an effort to speak to a stranger in church


Conventionally, Christians are encouraged to give alms (charitable donations) in Lent. But don’t let this limit you. You may choose to volunteer some time at a local charity for example. Remember the point of any Lenten practice is to help you grow in self-awareness, connection and spiritual depth.

If you would like to receive some personal support during Lent or to make your confession, there are ministers available. Please speak to a member of the clergy or use the form provided.