God calls us to nurture the faith of our children in our homes.
Lent is the Christian season, beginning on Ash Wednesday (March 2) and ending with Holy Week, that encourages us to pray, fast, and serve as a way to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The purpose of Lent is to draw closer to God. Much like Advent prepares our hearts for Christmas, Lent prepares our hearts for Easter.
Use these resources and activities to help make Lent a special time for your family. Contact Dee Ann Lord, Children & Family Ministry Coach, at 303-358-7997 or EMAIL with questions.
Observing Lent With Children
Lent is observed as the six weeks before Good Friday. The first official day of Lent is Ash Wednesday, then there are 40 days of fasting and 6 celebration days (Sundays). The timing reflects the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert, hungry and tempted by Satan.
We can still have Easter baskets and Easter egg hunts and the Easter bunny, but as Christians it’s important to teach our children that this whole Easter deal is to celebrate our risen savior who conquered death.
Two simple ways to do this:
PRAY: As a family, you can use these — 40 Prayers in 40 Days — that are just right for Lent. Each card will prompt you and your kids to pray for a certain thing or person – and they will learn how to talk to God along the way.
GIVE UP SOMETHING AS A FAMILY: Jesus fasted for 40 days. That is a very long time! It would be meaningful to teach your children about fasting by giving up something for the entire Lenten season. It could be giving up desserts, not going out to eat, or drinking only water. The key is that it has to be something you enjoy and want to do/eat/have.
What could your family give up and sacrifice over the next several days as a small reminder of what Jesus did for us?
HOLY WEEK — April 10-16
READ: Mark 11:1-11
- What do you imagine Jerusalem looked and sounded like when Jesus rode in on Palm Sunday?
- How do you think it would have felt to be in the crowd that day? What do you see yourself doing there?
- On Palm Sunday, people welcomed Jesus as their king. How can we honor Jesus as our King today?
DO: People threw their clothes on the dirty road to make a pathway for Jesus. Find an old t-shirt and a permanent marker. Write or draw some of the things you want to surrender or lay down at the feet of Jesus. Leave the t-shirt in a visible place as a reminder of your commitment.
PRAY: Declare Jesus as the King over each area of your life.
READ: Matthew 21:12-14
- What surprised you the most about this story?
- Is it hard for you to picture Jesus being angry?
- Can anger be a good thing sometimes?
- What are some things that should make us angry?
- Is there anything that should be thrown out of your life?
DO: Jesus declared that the temple is meant to be a House of Prayer. Is your home a “house of prayer” — a place where prayers, praise, God’s presence, and faith conversations are valued and encouraged? As a family, take a closer look at your living space and decide what you could do to make it more Godward in the way it’s set up.
PRAY: Walk through each room of your house and dedicate it to God and His glory.
READ: Mark 4:30-32
- What’s the smallest seed you’ve ever seen?
- How about the biggest plant?
- Why do you think Jesus chose a seed and a tree to describe God’s Kingdom?
- How would you describe the Kingdom of God if you had to tell the story?
DO: Go for a walk and notice the plants. Point out how all of them — from the biggest tree to the smallest wild flower — started as a tiny seed. At home, take a big piece of paper and draw your family as a garden where each person is a plant. Discuss and celebrate the signs of God’s Kingdom you see in each other.
PRAY: Thank God for the beauty of small beginnings.
READ: Luke 16:19-31
- What surprised you the most about this story?
- How can our wealth and possessions make it hard for us to notice those in need?
- Is it true that sickness and poverty are God’s ways of punishing people for their sins?
DO: As a family, discuss: do we have a “Lazarus” in our lives today, someone that could use a little bit of love and attention? What could be do? Isn’t it surprising that in today’s story dogs showed more kindness to the poor man than another human being? Take a little time to watch some funny dog videos on the Internet.
PRAY: Ask God to lead you to people who need to experience His extravagant love through you.
READ: John 13:1-17
- Why did Jesus wash everyone’s feet?
- Whose job was it, in those days, to wash people’s feet?
- What was Jesus teaching us through His example?
- Who are some people that serve you?
- Who are some people that you serve?
DO: 1) Remember the Last Supper together. Share bread and grape juice to remember Jesus’ body and blood. Add other Passover-style foods, such as hummus or olives. 2) Host your own foot-washing ceremony. Fill a bucket with water. Grab a few towels, then take turns washing each other’s feet and praying for one another.
PRAY: Ask God to show you what serving opportunities He has for you right now.
READ: Mark 15:16-47
- Did you notice anything in the story that perhaps you haven’t noticed before?
- Imagine yourself standing at the foot of the cross where Jesus is hanging. What are you feeling? What are you thinking? What does it make you want to do?
DO: During breakfast, use painters tape to make a shape of the cross on the floor in one of the rooms. Let this be a visual reminder of the price Jesus paid for our sins. Also, turn it into a prayer spot. As your family members go through their daily activities, invite them to pause and sit down by the cross, even for just a few moments. Welcome these “cross” interruptions and use them as a chance to pray.
READ: 1 Corinthians 13
- How do you know when someone loves you?
- How do you show someone you love them?
- How do you know God loves you?
- Do you think it’s possible to love the way Paul describes?
DO: Today, celebrate God’s perfect love and your imperfect but wonderful family! Pass out paper and pens. Invite everyone to write several things they would like to do today (foods they want to eat, places they want to visit, games they want to play, people they want to see, activities they want to do, and so on). Read out all the papers and see if you can say yes to all or most of the requests. Have fun!
PRAY: Thank God for always loving you.
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
See how many you can do before Easter! Everyone can work together.
EXTRA FUN: If you bring your Easter Bingo page to Ms. Dee Ann at Sunday School, you will get an Easter treat for each box you complete. Click on this link – Easter Bingo – for your page.
FAMILY TALK TIME
A Daily Lenten Activity For Families
During this season of Lent, carve out 10 minutes each day to spend time thinking about Jesus and talking with your family. It’s okay if you miss a day or two—after all, things happen. But, the time you do spend together with Jesus is sure to be sweeter than your favorite Easter candy! Click on this link — Lenten Conversations — for conversation starters and simple ideas for ways to do this for your family.
FUN IN THE KITCHEN
Have you ever made your own Communion Bread? It’s so much fun and it’s a great time to have faith conversations with your children. Click on this link — Communion Bread — for several recipes to make bread for Communion for any day of the week. There’s even a gluten-free recipe!
Resurrection cinnamon rolls are breakfast buns (or dessert Easter rolls) where the marshmallow inside disappears, leaving the roll with an empty space on the inside just like the empty tomb when Jesus arose from the dead. This recipe is a fun way to illustrate the Easter story to children. Click on this link — Resurrection Easter Rolls — to get the recipe and instructions.