Preparing Your Heart for Easter
By Amy Gentry
My family attends a Good Friday service every year, then we wake up on Easter Sunday morning, I take pictures of sleepy-eyed children clumsily digging into their Easter baskets, we all put on our finest clothes, we don’t eat breakfast because my kids are already way too sugared up, then I yell at my offspring to hurry up and get in the car because we are running late, I rock babies in the nursery during one service and attend worship service the next hour, then we get go to my in-laws home for a ham dinner and an Easter egg hunt.
As Easter drew near last year, I felt that I didn’t want to experience Easter in the same old way. I wanted to practice Lent. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the heart of the believer for Easter through prayer and fasting. It was Jesus who also spent forty days fasting in the desert before he began his ministry, in preparation for what lied ahead of him.
I’m not suggesting that you only “give up” or fast something that is significant to you for Lent, but also begin a new practice this Lent. Do a 40 day devotional. Have an extra quiet time of focused daily prayer for 40 days- saying a prayer of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, or supplication. Wherever you feel the Spirit leading you, follow. No, I did not give up sugar, caffeine, or texting; however I did wear a particularly large and obnoxious bracelet that constantly remind me to prepare my heart through focused daily prayer and meditating on God’s Word in preparation for Good Friday and Easter.
It worked! After 40 days of preparing my heart, last Easter I was able to be “in the moment” with a heart fully expecting to meet with the Lord - I meditated on the death of Christ and I rejoiced in his resurrection.
“Turn to me now, while there is time.
Give me your hearts.
Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
Don’t tear your clothing in your grief,
but tear your hearts instead.”
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is merciful and compassionate,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
He is eager to relent and not punish.
CHALLENGE: Today is the first day of Lent, how should you be preparing yourself to fully experience the death and resurrection of Christ this year? Make THIS LENT a holy time that is set apart from the usual.