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Lent is a holy season of 40 days, not counting Sundays, which begins with Ash Wednesday and extends to Holy Saturday. It is a time of repentance, meditation, fasting and preparation as we reflect on the suffering and passion of Jesus Christ and prepare ourselves for the coming of Easter. It is a time for all Christians to focus on their relationship with God. The 40 days of Lent represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, facing the temptations of Satan, as he prepared to begin his earthly ministry. The term Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “lencten,” which simply means spring.

Lent is one of the oldest observances of the Christian calendar. The early church leader, Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (130-200), spoke of Lent as an event that lasted just two or three days. In the year 325 the Council of Nicaea spoke of a 40 day season of Lent, which was to be observed by new Christians as they prepared for baptism. Soon that practice came to encompass the whole church. By the time of Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) the season of Lent was established very much as we now observe it: beginning on Ash Wednesday, lasting 40 days, ending on the eve of Easter, and focused on self-examination, penitence, and self-denial.

This Lenten devotional guide is prepared by the members of River Road Church, Baptist, for your spiritual benefit as you reflect, meditate, and prepare yourself for this holy season when we will focus on Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection and at the same time focus on our need to grow in spiritual maturity and faithful commitment. We pray that this season of Lent will be a time for you to grow closer to God.

Tom Graves, Editor