Devotions for Lent

For those who are observing lent and even for those who are not, I think these devotions for lent would be very useful.

It’s from the Lutheran Seminary. Along with the Catholic church, the Anglican, Methodist and Lutheran church observes lent from Ash Wednesday.

Mar Thoma Church observes Great Fifty days lent. Here’s an article from our Theodosius Thirumeni on the Great Lent.


Great Lent or Valiya Noyambu

Feasts and fasts are the part of the tradition of all religious communites. In the Christian Churches of Antiochian tradition, including Mar Thoma Church, the Great Lent consists of 40 days ending with 40th Friday, with an extension of 10 more days inclusive of Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. It spreads to 7 weeks with a total of 50 days.

Lent is a season observed by our church as a time set apart for fasting and prayer and also a time of introspection. Observing silence is a great help during these days to have transcendence of mind. In the life of the community of the faithful, lent provides a time for spiritual discipline regularly. It is the practice of a life of denial, taking up the cross and following Jesus Christ. Here we recognize that permissiveness is not the principle of life. Freedom in life is a restricted and responsible freedom. Lent is based on the spiritual practice of fasting and prayer-both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Jesus began His public ministry with forty days of fasting and communion with God (Matt. 4:2, Mk 1:13, Lk 4:2). Here the mind is not kept idle but will be very active in communion with God. Fasting and prayer remain as an undeniable character of the Church from the early days (Acts 13:2, 14:23). We wait upon the Lord in fellowship for renewal and strength.

The great lent or Valiya Noyambu is specifically set apart as a time of fast, prayer and meditation wherein we remember the person and work of Jesus Christ and ultimately connect ourselves to His passion and death on the cross. Christ redeemed the whole humanity from sin and death. Lent is in fact a spiritual retreat of the Church, through which the members of the church meditate upon the cross of Christ and submit to it in a sense of complete repentance. These fifty days should help every member of the church to have an experience of abiding in Christ in a realistic way (Jn15).

Fasting should never be observed with ostentation or spiritual pride Matt 6:16-18). Fasting is a spiritual discipline where we try to have mastery over the very things, which we understand as difficult to change. Jesus is the Lord of life and no interest in life shall stand on the way of experiencing His Lordship. So if you discover that you are a slave to certain habit, or you have a liking for any pleasure of taste, lent is a season to give it up and have mastery over it. Lent is not intended to win favors from God; instead it is the fulfillment of the will and purpose of God. It is not a ritual in which we try to change God’s mind rather we transform ourselves to have the mind of Christ. We discipline our life to care the needy and to show mercy to those who deserve it. It reminds us of the transformed practices of Zacheus who found salvation in Christ.

The exercise of Lent is also a time of rebuilding the altars of prayer – both personal and collective, studying the Word of God and developing a strict discipline of giving and forgiving. This helps the believer to gain internal strength to resist temptations, carnal desires and vested interests. Fasting is a time of reconciliation and healing (2Cor 5:11-21). It is a time to reconcile with the whole of creation and to heal the wounds of the world to make it a habitable one. It is a time of transcendence and transformation. St. Paul says in Rom. 1: 1&2 “Therefore I urge you my brethren, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is the spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the patterns of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will”.

Believers are encouraged to read and meditate on the word of God during lent. It will be useful to use continuously a devotional book. Those who study the Bible and use the devotional guide are to spend time in prayer asking God the Holy Spirit to guide you to understand the spirit and meaning of what is the given text for each day. This is not merely an intellectual exercise but a time of devotion, where you accept the Biblical truth into your life, so that it will bear fruit of renewal and transformation.

When you celebrate Easter, let this spiritual exercise help you to celebrate your spiritual life in abundance and to live victoriously in the power of the Holy Spirit. The celebration of the resurrection of Jesus leads the believer towards a renewed life and the faith community to a life of witnessing the power of Christ’s resurrection and to live with great hope towards consummation in the Kingdom of God.

Mar Theodosius