Introduction to Lent
What is provided for you here is a simple prayer and scripture guide, adapted from the Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship, that covers the duration of the Lenten season. It is meant to be used individually or within your house church, family, or friends for the purpose of prayer, meditation, and reflection.
You will also find these themes and some of these scriptures and prayers mirrored in our Lenten gatherings.
The church invites us to observe a Holy Lent. What this has meant for most of the life of the church is that the forty days leading up to Easter were marked as days in which people returned to the Lord, through prayer and fasting, repentance and self examination, and reading and meditating on God’s word. These are the days in which the people of God purposely turn their hearts to the Lord, opening up the whole of themselves to receive God’s presence and to hear God’s voice. As an expression of the church here in Denver, we are joining with the church worldwide in this journey. We look forward to these days, because in the deepest places in us, we know that we have an aching need, and that is to know our God.
To hear the voice of the one who knit us together and to feel the love of the one who found us and brought us back to himself is truly what we most desire, but so often that desire is drowned by the demands and the patterns that this world throws upon it.
But for these forty days… we listen to the deep places of our hearts, and we let them speak to us. We let our desire to know the Lord drive us, and we make all things subject. In that spirit, the leadership of Bloom is calling our community to forty days of prayer, fasting, and self-examination. Our sermons in this season will focus on the Gospels, as we journey with Christ to the cross, and our hope is that our times of worship together will be places in which we can more deeply and richly experience this season of Lent together as a family.
May you come to know the Lord in new and deeper ways.
~ The Bloom Staff
Engage in the Practices
Repentance literally means to change our mind and our heart, to turn from our self-centered ways to the ways of Jesus. To lead a life of repentance is to have a humble heart, to be malleable in our thought patterns and behaviors. It’s deeply knowing that we are not right, that we have much to learn, and that Christ is the source of all inspiration.
Prayer is simply the practice of conversation with God. More than just talking to God, we create space in our lives and our hearts to listen to God and to sit in God’s presence.
- Block out 10 minutes every day to sit quietly in God’s presence, tuning your heart to what God might want to say to you.
- Participate in Wednesday morning prayer with Bloom.
- Pray the Daily Office, which is a series of short prayers throughout the day. (You can use the Daily Prayer App.)
- Pray the Examen at the end of each day.
Fasting is the practicing of abstaining from food and beverages for a period of time. Practiced by the church throughout time and around the world, It is an act of spiritual devotion and discipline during which we focus our thoughts, words and deeds on the Lord.
- Fast one day each week.
- Fast one or more days in anticipation or observance of the first Sunday of Lent, Holy Week, or Easter.
- When you feel hungry, turn your attention to the Spirit in prayer.
- During shorter fasts, continue to drink plenty of water. During longer fasts, pure fruit and vegetable juices are suggested along with water.
Self-denial asks us to look at and let go of the things, fears, attitudes, thinking, behaviors, accomplishments, successes, and failures that we think tell us who we are. It is the outworking of response to the question, “Do I need this?” However, self-denial is not just a “time-out” from these things. It is a way by which we again discover and live into our true identity.
- With others in the Bloom community, abstain from social media for an extended period of time.
- Complete an inventory of wants and needs, discerning what can be put down for a season
Engaging in scripture is engaging in the story of the people of God. Through scripture, we see the testimony and experience of those who have encountered God and who have been open to the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. We see what love and restoration and peace and healing look like, revealed in the person of Jesus and in the Body of Christ. For the Christ follower, scripture is not a moral guide or a theological grid; rather it is a window in which we can see and enter into the reality of Christ in our day and throughout all time. We approach scripture with humility and a heart full of wonder.
- Engage in the Lenten readings each day, or when you have the appropriate space to do so, found on bloom.church/lent
- Meditate on the lectionary readings for the upcoming Sunday, found in the happenings email