The season of Lent always come so fast! Before we can really get the Christmas season out of our minds, it's time to begin our Lenten fasts.
We're probably all a little guilty of waiting to the last minute to declare our Lenten commitments for the year. Prepare your students for Lent and Ash Wednesday by getting them to think about their Lenten commitments ahead of time.
Lenten Preparation Activities
Reflect on Fasting, Prayer, and Almsgiving
The three pillars of Lent are fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. These critical practices during Lent are taken from the traditional Ash Wednesday reading from Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18. Give the students some time to reflect on the ways in which they can live out these practices during Lent. Brainstorm as a group the many different ways teenagers can practice fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in a special way.
Create Lenten Journals
One way to track progress during Lent is to use a Lenten journal. These journals could be created in class or purchased at a store. To create Lenten journals in class:
- Take ten sheets of notebook paper and fold them in half.
- Place the ten sheets inside a folded piece of printer paper that will act as the cover.
- Staple the booklet together at the middle of the page.
- Label the top of each sheet with each of the forty days of Lent (excluding Sundays).
- Decorate the covers.
Students can update these journals each day of Lent either in the classroom or at home. You can also have the students journal responses to the many Lenten guided reflections here at the Engaging Faith blog:
- The Transfiguration
- Anointing at Bethany
- Jesus Washes His Disciples' Feet
- Peter Denies Jesus
- Parable of the Prodigal Son
Integrate and Introduce Some Technology
Encourage students to use technology to set reminders for themselves about living up to their Lenten commitments.
Discuss the different ways that they remember to do things: checklists, calendars, planners, emails, to do lists, smart phones etc. For example, they might set a reminder (or an alarm) on their phones to remind them of their Lenten committment or add a reminder in their digital calendars.
They could also use services like 21 Habit (and add a challenge twice!) or Gonna Try to set reminders for themselves as motivation to carry out their new habits (or break habits). Another option might be to explore goal-setting software or apps like 42 Goals.
The options are pretty limitless, but make sure the students think through a reminder system in preparation for Lent.
May God strengthen us all this Lent!