Check out our 2018 Lenten Guide for information about embarking on a FastPrayGive journey with us.
Ash Wednesday, February 14
At the start of Lent, we take time to remind ourselves that life indeed is limited: that we will die. We place ashes on our foreheads as a visible reminder to others that we know that our bodies will turn to ash one day, that life is indeed precarious, but that we are also a resurrection people. We believe that more lies beyond this end, and so our ashes are marked by the sign of faith — the cross — at once a symbol of our God’s destruction and His greatest triumph.
We listen to the words that the minister says to us as she places the ashes on our forehead: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
What is it that holds us back from really living? What do we have to die to — or, at the very least, fast from — in order to liberate ourselves from our bad habits? What do we have to give of ourselves to others, to causes, to God, so that we may stretch ourselves into new ways of being? How does prayer center us into growth?
This is the stuff of Lent.
Fast by reducing your consumption of a daily habit by one level for the day. (For example, order a grande coffee at Starbucks instead of your usual venti.)
Pray for the estimated 3.8 billion people in the world who live on less than $2 per day.
Give the money you save (at least $1) to your FastPrayGive Bowl. (Your FastPrayGive Bowl can be any sort of container you set aside to hold the money saved from various fasting challenges our calendar offers throughout Lent. At the end of Lent, the money collected in the bowl can be used for whatever charity you choose.)
Thursday, February 15
To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.
— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Fast from thoughtlessness.
Pray for one minute on the gifts or the people in your life you have been given that you sometimes take for granted.
Give by going out of your way to offer a genuine compliment to someone you encounter and perform one small act of kindness.
Friday, February 16
The best of all medicines is resting and fasting. — Benjamin Franklin
Fast from complaining about your job and all that weighs you down about hard work.
Pray for those who are unemployed and pray in thanksgiving for your gainful employment. (NOTE: If you are out of work, take a minute today to reflect on what you still have to be grateful for.)
Give some of your time to someone you know who is out of work or put two dollars in your FastPrayGive Bowl.
Saturday, February 17
The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man’s abode. — Henry David Thoreau
Fast from a treat.
Pray for those whose basic sustenance is not being met, around the world or in your town. (The World Health Organization estimates that one third of the world is well fed, one third is underfed and one third is starving. Every 3.6 seconds, someone on our planet dies of hunger.)
Give the money you save in your FastPrayGive Bowl.
Sunday, February 18
In the early days of Christianity, Lent was a 40-day retreat to purify their body and spirit for those preparing for baptism at Easter. Since there was no practice of ritual infant baptism, this is how people entered the Church. With the emergence of infant baptism and confirmation, this link between baptism and Lent was largely lost. The purification processes of Lent expanded to all Christians — both to support the new converts and to reaffirm and fortify their own faith. Gradually, the link was further broken to the point where many people see Lent as nothing but abstinence from one or two beloved foods, rather than as a period of purification of the spirit.
Fast from being judgmental.
Pray for those who suffer prejudice in the world.
Give your time to talk to someone you normally wouldn’t interact with.