In HOPE 10.4

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David Timms

 Prayer for Today

Father, I confess how often I pander to my every whim. And I acknowledge how little I sacrifice for You. Yet, I want to know You more -- more deeply, more personally, more fully, more intimately. Help me to draw nearer to You through this season of self-denial. I seek You above the pleasures and distractions of my life. Amen.  

More Resources

For more reflections on Lent and additional background info, see "In HOPE" issues 5.4, 6.7, 7.4, and 8.3 in the archives (see below).

Got questions? Like some more ideas? Got some good ideas? Drop me an email ([email protected]).

Other Writing

David Timms, Living the Lord's Prayer (Bethany House, 2008)

David Timms, Sacred Waiting: Waiting on God in a World that Waits for Nothing (Bethany House, 2009)


“Don’t make your lenten observance something that you do for yourself,
but make it a gift to God."


Lent 2010

Today marks Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.

For many people this brings back memories of strange rituals and meaningless fasts. They recall a childhood that involved getting wet ash pasted on their forehead once a year and then six to seven weeks of some deprivation. It was just part of “being Catholic” or “being” something else.

Perhaps this Lent can be different—not an obligation but an opportunity.

Lent (which means “Spring”) mirrors the 40-day fast of Jesus in the wilderness. It’s a time of self-denial in some specific way for a very specific reason…to draw closer to Christ, to give Him our attention.

In the western Church, Lent runs for 46 days, starting today and finishing the day before Easter Sunday. It excludes the six Sundays between now and then because each Sunday we celebrate the risen Christ and that’s no time to fast! Thus, the entire experience incorporates 40 days of fasting.

What should we fast from? It’s a matter of personal choice. Some folk choose to fast from television (they’re hardy souls) while others elect to forego chocolate, sweets or desserts. TV may be easier! Still others pass up dairy products or red meat, while some might plan a Facebook fast or electronic games fast.

The issue is not what we fast from but that what we choose represents some degree of sacrifice to us and something that we’ll miss sufficiently that it calls us to prayerfulness and attentiveness to Christ on a regular basis. Giving up Coke or French fries might stretch and focus some of us.

Lent, of course, is not about torture or self-abuse. It’s simply a spiritual discipline that opens a window for us to encounter Christ more deeply. We ought not walk around with long faces telling the world about our efforts. That makes us the center of the experience, rather than Christ. And we’d gain nothing.

What’s wonderful about Lent is simply this: It’s not that we “have to” but that we “get to.” We are free to ignore it altogether without any risk to our eternal security. Lent does not save us. But it can shape us for a richer and more intimate experience of Christ. 

Perhaps this Lent we can know Him and gain Him in new ways. Might this be the start of a spiritual revival within our own lives and perhaps our families?





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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2009) at .

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.