Pray, Fast, Give – Lent Campaign
What are you giving up for Lent?
Last lent I was very interested to overhear a conversation on a bus where two university students were discussing what they were going to give up for Lent. The limited conversation I heard suggested that this was motivated by cultural/health reasons rather than any religious considerations. Nevertheless, year after year, for many the questions raises it head: ‘What are you giving up for Lent?’
Lent provides such a great opportunity for personal renewal, in terms of goal setting and it is probably second only to the buzz surrounding new year’s resolutions. The motivation for change is a great instinct and should be encouraged, but we would be selling people short if we neglected the spiritual growth that ought to be the foundation of Lent.
The discipline involved in the various sacrifices people undertake often take the form of giving up some sort of food you know you probably shouldn’t eat anyway, so Lent becomes a good excuse to lose a few extra pounds.
Staying faithful to our promises bears fruit, and in the case of giving up certain kinds of food, often the results are easy to observe, it is often less easy to see spiritual growth. However, to use an analogy, there is no point in just feeding the plant if we neglect the roots, meaning we need spiritual discipline and growth as much if not more and so our lenten practices can and should encompass this.
A Back to Basics Lent Campaign
Christians because of their Baptism are temples of the Holy Spirit and so a respect for the body is healthy, but not to the neglect of our soul. Lent is a good time to go back to basics when it comes to our spiritual life to take stock and prepare ourselves spiritually for the great celebration of Easter. If you are still deciding what to give up for Lent, or have failed in what you did choose, or just want some guidance maybe you might want to take on our challenge…
In Brentwood diocese we are pushing a campaign called ‘Pray, Fast, Give’. It is no nonsense and straight to the point. The title gives away everything you need to know about the challenge we put before all people this Lent both young and old.
Too often in the past I have chosen novelty things to give up for Lent, seeing the practice as an endurance challenge, rather than one that strengthened my faith and relationship with Christ. ‘Pray, Fast, Give’ is simple in that it calls people to live ancient practices of the faith in new and compelling ways, practices that will help strengthen people in the midst of new and modern challenges.
Here’s more info on taking up the challenge:
‘Pray, Fast, Give’ is designed to take on small manageable challenges that will form habits of a lifetime. Many times people will give up something for Lent and then rejoice once they can go back to eating meat, chocolate, drinking etc.
What might the challenges looking like in practice?
Choosing to put in an extra time of prayer can be 1 minute, 10 minutes or 1 hour depending on your spiritual life; fasting from something can be deciding to look at your phone for 10 minutes less than we ordinarily would and giving might be choosing to volunteer on a project for small amount of time each day, or performing a small random act of kindness. Choosing the right challenges for ourselves require us to sit down, think and be creative.
Whatever you choose make sure that they are small enough that they are achievable with the view that these will become established habits in our lives well after lent is finished.
How to promote Pray, Fast, Give in your school, church or on social media
If you want to promote this campaign in your school, church or on your social media please feel free to download the posters and use the social media post from above in this blog and of course when people ask you what you are giving up for lent tell them that you are taking up the ‘Pray, Fast, Give’ challenge.