I grew up as a Methodist and every Ash Wednesday we would go to church and the pastor would paint crosses of ash on our foreheads. We waved real palm branches on Palm Sunday and paraded giant purple banners on Easter. The Methodists, like the Catholics and other traditional denominations, have some deeply rooted spiritual traditions that enrich the experience of the season.
What I appreciated most was the preparing of the heart for the sacred celebration of Easter Sunday. We didn’t just show up to church on Easter, we built up for it all month long. I now attend a non-denominational church where these rituals are not practiced, but I still value the 40 day process that helps unearth the deep truths of Easter. Of being Easter people.
And I want my kids to have that same experience.
This year I decided to set up a little table as our “Lent Prayer Station.” The instructions are simple and it requires only a few minutes of time:
1. Light the candle
2. Read the scripture or say it outloud
3. Say the prayer
I love that each child can do it when he/she gets up in the morning, whenever that is. It allows them to take their own initiative. Lighting the candle has turned out to be a key component of the station – they like that part!
The journaling part works best with older children and is totally optional. I write down 2-3 questions surrounding the prayer or scripture in the journal. I also write a possible sacrifice or Lent addition for the day. I don’t make them do it, as I want it to come from an internal motivation, but we talk about it as a family and encourage it. With kids, I find that doing something different each day is more doable than giving up or adding the same thing for forty days!
I have 40 different short prayers for all of us to use, and I put one out each day. You can pre-cut them into squares and they are ready to go, or glue one on each page of a journal and walk through Lent that way. You could also do this as a family at dinner and light the candle and read it then. You can get creative with how you use these!
I pray you will be blessed as you lead your children toward their own journey with Jesus this Easter season!
May this be a joy and a blessing during this holy season.