What is Lent and why does it last forty days?

The word ‘Lent’ is an ancient word for ‘Spring’ – a time of new life, new beginnings, renewal.

For Christians, Lent is the period of 40 days leading up to Easter (excluding Sundays), representing the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert enduring the temptations of Satan. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends at sundown on Holy Saturday, the evening before Easter Sunday. Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. During Lent  Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others. The Easter Season, also known as Eastertide or the Great Fifty Days, begins on Easter Day and ends 50 days later on Pentecost. Focusing on Christ’s resurrection and ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost), Eastertide is the most joyous and celebrative season of the Christian year. We celebrate the good news that in Christ’s death and resurrection we, and all creation, are continually being made new by God’s love and saving grace.
source: UMC.org is the official online ministry of The United Methodist Church. © 2019 United Methodist Church.

Each Week of Lent – Be Still

  • Light a candle as a reminder of God’s presence.
  • Take a moment to allow whatever is in your heart to rise, and offer your thoughts to the loving care of the Lord today.

During the Weeks – ask yourself:

  • What is God calling me to in my prayer?
  • What is God prompting me to fast from?
  • Where is God guiding me to respond in generosity?

Week 1. Pocket Prayer

‘Be with me, Lord.
when I am in trouble.
Be with me, Lord, I pray.’
I pray that I may hear God’s voice as I journey through each day.

First Week of Lent

‘Be merciful O’Lord, for we have sinned’.

response to Psalm 50

Prayer over the People

May bountiful blessing, O Lord, we pray,
come down upon your people,
that hope may grow in tribulation,
virtue be strengthened in temptation,
and eternal redemption be assured.
Through Christ our Lord.


Week 2. Pocket Prayer

‘The Lord is my light and my salvation’
I pray that I may have the grace and insight to pay attention to God’s active presence in my life

Second Week of Lent

‘Lord, let your mercy be on us, as we place our trust in you’.

response to Psalm 32

Prayer over the People

Bless your faithful, we pray, O Lord,
with a blessing that endures forever, and keep them faithful
to the Gospel of your Only Begotten Son,
so that they may always desire and at last attain
that glory whose beauty he showed in his own Body,
to the amazement of his Apostles.
Through Christ our Lord. 



Week 3. Pocket Prayer

‘The Lord is kind and merciful’.
I think about how I see the kindness and mercy of God in my life.

Third Week of Lent

‘If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts’.

response to Psalm 94

Prayer over the People


Direct, O Lord, we pray, the hearts of your faithful,
and in your kindness grant your servants this grace:
that, abiding in the love of you and their neighbour,
they may fulfil the whole of your commands.
Through Christ our Lord.



Week 4. Pocket Prayer

‘Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.’
I invite the Lord into my heart.

Fourth Week of Lent

‘The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want’.

response to Psalm 22

Prayer over the People

Look upon those who call to you, O Lord,
and sustain the weak;
give life by your unfailing light
to those who walk in the shadow of death,
and bring those rescued by your mercy from every evil
to reach the highest good.
Through Christ our Lord.


Week 5. Pocket Prayer

Lord, when I feel ashamed or humiliated, help me to see myself the way that you see me, and to view others with the same compassion. Amen

Fifth Week of Lent

‘With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption’.

response to Psalm 129

Prayer over the People

Bless, O Lord, your people,
who long for the gift of your mercy,
and grant that what, at your prompting, they desire
they may receive by your generous gift.
Through Christ our Lord