Renew Your Lenten Discipline

A statue of JesusMany people get really excited about their Lenten discipline on Ash Wednesday and it continues through the first week or so of Lent. But, by the second week or a little later, perhaps the original excitement has faded. Then, your plan to give up sweets or to do an act of charity each day has pretty much fallen by the wayside. Basically, for many people in Lent, goal ideas meet reality. And, reality isn’t as exciting. But, just because you get off the track early, doesn’t mean you can’t recover. Here are a few tips to renew your Lenten discipline.

First, don’t beat yourself up. A lot of people I talk to tell me that they start by cheating on their goals a little bit, then just stop doing it altogether. In many cases, that is a result of guilt or shame over failing to follow through. However, remember that the purpose of Lent is to grow spiritually stronger. Think of it as training. Sometimes we fail while  we train. Remember the purpose of Lent and don’t let the guilt make you give up. Which brings us to the second tip…

If you give up the discipline, even for days (or weeks), it’s perfectly fine to start over. Just because you’ve eaten five giant snickers bars doesn’t mean you can’t spend the rest of Lent following your chosen fast. While forty days of fasting is ideal, it’s still better to follow your goals for twenty five days than five (or none). So, get back on the wagon and finish your fast, even if you’ve not been terribly successful since the beginning.

Third, remember that prayer is the foundation for all spiritual disciplines. We can’t lose track of that during our Lenten fast. So, if you haven’t made prayer your foundation throughout Lent, you’ll be much more likely to fail at the other things you’re attempting. If you haven’t, add prayer to your list of disciplines. Try the liturgy of the hours, a great resource, especially morning and evening prayer.

So, best of luck keeping your Lenten discipline, even if you have to start over. It’s worth it to renew your spiritual discipline because you are training to create a better relationship with God and to live a more spiritually satisfying life.

About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is a writer, speaker, and small business owner. He started ChurchYear.Net in 2004, along with his brother David. The site gets over one million visitors a year. His writings have also appeared in church bulletins, newspapers, and other media.

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