Lord, Have Mercy: A Lenten Devotional

With Ash Wednesday being this week, my attention is turning toward the season of Lent.  For me, Lent is a season of much needed reminders.  A season of quiet(er).  A season of slow(er).  A season of sacrifice, which in turn draws me out of my own innate selfishness and away from the physical comforts and pleasures of this world.

I’ve had people comment before:  why Lent?  Shouldn’t we always be drawn close to God?  Shouldn’t we always sacrifice?  Always be reminded that we are not of this world?

On one hand, yes.  The sacrifices of Lent, if they truly draw us closer to God, should be habit forming and something we do always to make our lives more holy. 

On the other hand, though, I think Church seasons are brilliant.

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build.

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Done with an intense spirit of devotion, Lent can truly be a transformative season.  It should be.  But at the end, there is a time for rejoicing.  There should be!  A light at the end of the tunnel!

As you contemplate what Lent will look like for yourself and your family this year, consider this family devotional guide from Kansas author Amy Edwards:  Lord, Have Mercy: Discovering Jesus in the Days Before Easter: A Family Devotional Guide for Lent.

This devotional comes in both a paperback and Kindle edition.

From Amazon:

Lord, Have Mercy is a unique family devotional guide for Lent that can help you make Easter what it should be, the Christian’s most treasured holiday. Each day’s devotion provides a question-and-answer discussion about the Bible reading so that you can easily lead your family in an engaging discussion of God’s Word. With questions geared toward both young and old, all family members will be able to participate in a lively and interactive conversation about the Scriptures.

After seeing her five children quickly lose interest in other read-aloud family devotionals, Amy Edwards set out to write a family devotional guide that would reach her preschool-aged children as well as her middle-school-aged children. With straight-forward questions for little ones and more challenging thinking questions for older ones, this devotional will help you keep all of your family focused on what really matters–discovering Jesus Christ and your need for Him–so that your Easter is a true celebration.

Together your family will converse about the Scriptures. By God’s grace your eyes will be opened to the wonders of God’s mercy that are given to us in Jesus Christ.

 

Would you like to win a Kindle edition of Lord, Have Mercy to guide your family through the Lenten Season?  Simply leave a comment:  What does the Lenten season look like for you?  (I realize that some of our sacrifices are very personal, and please don’t feel the need to share the details.  Keeping it generic is fine by me.)

Giveaway ends Tuesday, February 21, at midnight, and Five Winners will be chosen Wednesday morning.  You’ll also receive your kindle edition prize on Wednesday.  ***You do not need a Kindle to receive the prize.  There are a variety of free Kindle apps available so you can read the book on your computer. (That’s what I do!)***

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Comments

  1. Lent is a time to clean my soul.

  2. Lent is a time to focus on the amazing gift we’ve been given (eternal life) and a time to be lovingly grateful for the incredible sacrifice.

  3. a time of sacrifice & prayer

  4. I love the Lent season as it causes me to stop and think about what’s important!

  5. Lent is a time of reflection and study.

  6. For our family, it is a time where we are more focused on how we spend our time, placing our priorities on God and family time. The sacrifices with make with fasting, prayer, and alms giving, help us to keep our minds more focused. I feel like our family faith life grows stronger with each Lent that passes, especially as my children are getting older and have a better understanding of the season.

  7. Rita Harris says:

    Drawing close to God.

  8. The Lenten season always starts out reflective but after a few days it proves to be hard to stay focused, two kids, full time job, hard to make it to church, household duties, extracurriculars. I’m not sure how to make it work.

  9. Melissa S. says:

    I believe Lent is a time to slow down and focus more on what God is doing in your life. More time in prayer and solitude with Him.

  10. Michelle R says:

    I normally don’t do anything for lent, but this year I want to be more intentional and give up chocolate which i eat on a daily basis.

  11. Melissa M. says:

    Lent is a time for sacrifice and prayer. We are always looking for ways to teach our kids more about the lenten season this book would be great.

  12. Until last year it was never even a thought in my life and not much was said about it in church. Last year our church began a series titled Ashes to Fire and it was a wonderful time to reflect on what God really means to me and the role He plays in my life. I am hoping to continue this quest this year and discover the purpose for the Lent season on a deeper level.

  13. A time of preparation and prayer.

  14. As a convert, I didn’t initially think to much about the church seasons, but as time has gone one, it’s one of the things I have truly come to love and appreciate. To give special attention to this time is to more truly understand the sacrifice Jesus made and to better know God’s love for us. It is a time to better align myself with God’s will. It is a time to recognize the awfulness of sin – and that helps me sin less.

  15. Lent is God’s reminder to me that the little things in life are not as big as I make them out to be – and that just when I think I can’t be stretched thinner I can look inside and sacrifice for Him — and amazingly I don’t mind it and I’m better for it!

  16. Lent is a call to quit the things of this world that I know are distracting me from His purposes.

  17. i love the lenten season. i think that in life sometimes we just need a reminder to get back to God. for me lent is definitely one of those reminders. i love the sacarifice i make during lent it helps me remember Jesus’ sacarifice for us all. during this season all the different church get together and worship and followship together over a potluck dinner. it is really an awesome time in my community.

  18. I have young children and it is my desire to use this time to teach my kids about the sacrifice Jesus made for them because of His love for them. I can certainly use all the help I can get!

  19. Beautiful post, like always, Amy. This is the first year we are really “celebrating” Lent. Until recently, I thought Lent was simply a Catholic excuse to eat more fish. As we’ve learned more about the Church calendar, its beauty and value became so clear! As humans it’s so easy to just focus on the parts of the Christian walk that we enjoy.

    Lent forces us to take a not so fun look at our sin, at idolatry that so easily seeks to entwine us. Most importantly, Lent points us to Christ. To all He has given up to redeem us.

    • As I cradle Catholic, I certainly didn’t “grasp” the meaning of Lent until adulthood. ;)

      “Lent points us to Christ.” Yes!

  20. Lent is a reflection and rededication time for me.

  21. Deitra Shoemaker says:

    I am hosting a Lenten retreat in my home on Friday to help myself and 6 other women get more focused on this season of Lent.

  22. Wendy Picariello says:

    Lent is always a great time to reflect.

  23. We are using this Lenten season for giving to others and sacrificing our wants.

  24. Last year lent was a time of huge spiritual changes in my life as I returned to the Church and my husband was in RCIA at the time. Lent this year is a time to focus on prayer and growing more spiritualy by taking more intentional time out to do those things.

  25. This year, Lent will be a time of reflection and intense prayer for me. Without social media, I hope to spend far more intentional time with the Lord and with my loved ones.

  26. Lent is a time to renew once faith. I also teach my students that God’s love is forever strong by what His son Jesus did for all of us.

  27. Lent is a time to remember what was sacrificed for us.

  28. Lent, for me, is a time of reflection. A time to focus on the amazing love our Father in heaven showed us by being willing to give His only Son as a sacrifice for us. A time to be still and know that He is God.

  29. Lent is preparing for the joy of Easter, for reflecting on all the things I’ve already been blessed with and the wonderful realization that the “things” are the least of my blessings.

  30. I grew up in a Christian Church but never practiced lent – I want to learn more about this year!

  31. Rebecca L. says:

    Preparation for the joy of Easter and reflecting on Christ’s last days here on Earth.

  32. Lent is a time for me to renew my dedication to putting others before myself. I don’t “sacrifice” anything special during this time as so many others do but find that I try to give of myself and my time and talents even more. Jesus gave all………..how can I be satisfied with giving any less?

  33. I like to reflect on where my time is spent and how to deepen my relationship with the Lord.

  34. Lent is an exciting time – I look forward to it even thought it is about sacrifice. It is an intentional time to identify a distraction you sense is stepping in between you and God. It is a depending time as we turn our eyes to what is most important to us.

  35. A time of focus and priorities.

  36. As a southern baptist, I had always thought of lent as a catholic celebration, but plan to celebrate this year.

    • As a cradle catholic, I thought we were the only ones who “did Lent” until a few years ago. SO thrilled to be very, very wrong about that. ;)

  37. This year for me lent means an increased focus on prayer and sacrifice.

  38. Lent is a time of reflection and prayer for me. This year I not only want to give up something but I want to have quiet time with Him daily, at least try to strive for daily study as much as possible.

  39. Lent is a time of more almsgiving on my childrens part. Time to feel greatful for what they have. For me it is about sacrifice and deeper reflection.

  40. With the hussle and bussle of everyday life, I look forward to lent. It is a time for me to refresh and renew my relationship with God. This looks like a great book to go thru together as a family!

  41. Lent *always* seems to be a struggle for me. Last year, this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eym833fy8Uc was my soundtrack for the season, and I loved it so much that I finally purchased the CD. (I’ve also even given it as a baby gift!) I would really like to give up sweets again, heaven knows I need to. It’s going to look different this year, though, as you know! Many, many blessings to you during this special season… xoxo

    • I’ve decided to not even mess with the food aspect this year, other than meatless Fridays and maybe another day during the week. Actually, going meatless is easy for me right now because it totally grosses me out. LOL

  42. Lent is a time to draw attention to become more loving in my dealings with other persons and more forgiving in slights done to me.

  43. Here is another Family Lenten Devotional: Called Prophesy Path to Calvary. http://www.sundayschoollady.com/easterlent/prophesy-lenten-devotional/prophesy-path-to-calvary-a-lenten-devotional
    The first 40 days (including Sundays) review a prophesy (Bible and Devotional), the last 6 days (Easter Week) include a hands-on object lesson that will help the children have fun while learning, along with the Bible reading. I can’t wait to do it! I’m so glad to hear so many people preparing their families heart for the Easter Celebration!

  44. I converted to Catholicism almost 4 years ago and enjoy learning a little more each year. This year especially I am going to count my many blessings, including a loving husband, two healthy children and twins on the way.

  45. Time to reflect, and to connect with other believers in our community. We have a weekly Lenten luncheon at one of the churches in town. Then, local ministers take a week to give a devotional after the meal. This year we are working through the book, “Parables and Passion: Jesus’ Stories for the Days of Lent” by John Indermark.

  46. A time of prayer, and more giving to others.

  47. This is my first time in my 16 year Christian walk that I am doing something for Lent. I feel called to it this year. I’ve been walking closer with God over the past year and half, and I sense Him wanting to delve deeper with me. I gave up Facebook and gaming. Very tough for me, and I’m going to use that time to focus on The Christ instead. I want to give Him my best and not just fit Him in when I “find the time.” Giving up computer time is going to leave a large hole in my life. I’ve been wanting to read and to create. Delve deeper into scriptures and give glory to God through creativity.

  48. I’m not sure yet….I have grown up southern baptist and only recently gained an understanding and appreciation for the church year. We have observed Advent for a few years now and I want to Lent as well but am unsure where to start with preschool kids. I’m excited about this book to give us some framework for family devotions!

    • My suggestion with littles is to focus on the almsgiving aspect. Children are compassionate and are generally willing to sacrifice to help someone out. Maybe collect coins for good deeds at home to give to a charity?

  49. Lent is a time to truly turn back to God through fasting, prayer and alms giving. I love this time of year that gives me excuse to cut out non essentials that distract us from our one goal. To love the Lord God with our whole heart, whole mind and our neighbor as ourselves.

  50. Though we are not Catholic, the season of Lent is such a special time in our home. We really try hard to go outside of our comfort zones in what we give up. We also celebrate a “mini Easter” each Sunday during Lent. It’s my favorite time of year and I’d love to win!

  51. truthfully, not as Christ centered as I would desire.

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