40 Positive Actions for Lent
Rather than emphasizing what you will "give up" for Lent, focus on positive actions you can take to demonstrate the extraordinary love of Jesus. Consider these ideas:
- Contact five Habitat colleagues whose work you appreciate. Thank them for specific actions and offer a word of encouragement.
- Lead the way in organizing at least one Habitat group to begin meetings with devotions during Lent.
- Identify one Christlike behavior you would like to live out more effectively. Each day, focus on it: pray about it, study Scripture's teaching about it, find examples of how others emulate it and practice it in your community and in the wider world.
- Think of one person about whom you have had negative thoughts or whom you have treated poorly in the past day or so. Ask that person and God for forgiveness.
- Sign up at least one person to be a Habitat Global Prayer Partner, and explain that the prayer requests for April should arrive on March 30.
- In true alone time, write at least one paragraph expressing the role God plays in your service with Habitat. Offer this as a silent prayer of thanks and ongoing commitment to God.
- In conversations with others, identify examples of racism in your community. In the context of Jesus’ values, develop a plan of action to fight racism and begin to act upon it.
- Make a list of people who have had a positive influence in your life. Each day of Lent, thank God in prayer for one person. Contact as many of these people as possible and thank them.
- Pray for the perpetrator of a crime. If possible, contact the person to let him or her know of your prayers and offer other appropriate support.
- Contact a local Habitat family and make plans to have a meal together.
- Go through your closet and give items that you have not needed or worn for a year to a local clothing ministry.
- Spend some time with a child. Share some of your fun childhood memories and listen to what the young boy or girl has to say.
- Pray about ways you can influence your Habitat organization to be truly serious about living out Jesus’ values.
- Pay for the meal or purchases of a stranger. Try to do it in total secrecy.
- Learn about the situation of a refugee family and invite them to your home for a meal.
- Make a list of needs and concerns you hear about in the news. Go to a quiet place and let the list be your focus for prayer.
- Take the first step to make amends in a broken relationship.
- Be a gracious listener. Let a lonely person talk as long as he or she wants. Keep your stories to yourself.
- Find out the amount of money you gave to your church, mosque or temple last year. Commit to add to your tithe and offering this year.
- Start a personal journal. Record how God has been talking to you and revealing new things.
- Learn about Lenten, Holy Week, Good Friday and/or Easter observances in another faith community. Adopt a new practice during this Lenten season and express gratitude for spiritual growth opportunities.
- Compliment a stranger.
- Each day, send an encouraging text message to a different person.
- Read Micah 6:8. Be specific about how you will live out the prophet’s three directions today: do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God.
- Think of people for whom this is the first Lenten season after having lost a loved one. Include them by name in prayer. Contact them to show your support.
- Discuss with family members or friends some of the temptations that they see as hard to avoid. Help them think of strategies or actions to resist those temptations during and after Lent.
- Express your thanks to preschool teachers, who play a major role at such a formative age. If possible, volunteer in a classroom and enjoy the kids’ wonderful, cheerful and happy nature!
- Identify a God-sized task in your community or in another part of the world. Pray that God would raise up leaders to respond. Ask God what you should do about the issue.
- Turn off your computer and cell phone. Spend the time you would ordinarily be in front of a screen in earnest prayer to connect with God.
- Write a letter of appreciation to a friend or, better yet, to someone who causes you angst. Go to the post office to mail the letter and make a special effort to be gracious to those who work there.
- With approval of parents, take a friend’s child to work with you on a community service project.
- Begin to write your life’s memoirs. Establish the practice of pausing often for silent prayer as you remember and write.
- Plant some wildflowers beside the road, knowing they will bring joy to people you do not know.
- Prepare a meal together as a family or with friends. Assign a different dish or task to each person. Decide on acts of kindness that you will do individually or together. Hold each other accountable.
- Through contact with a pastor, a medical person, an eye clinic or other source, seek to learn the name of a local person whose eyesight is poor. Visit the person and develop a plan for the person to regularly receive recorded books.
- Contact an elderly person who has a hard time working with electronic devices such as TV, phone, computer, etc. Offer your technical help. If you don’t have the skills, find and recruit someone who does.
- With a smile, say an honest “good morning” to the first 10 people you meet today.
- Join with others to regularly deliver magazines, books and games to a nursing home. Encourage those who deliver these items to stay and have conversations with the residents!
- Invite at least one person to join you for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter services at your place of worship.
- Offer a prayer before each new task you begin.