40 Days of Fasting & Prayer

Lent 2023

What is Lent?

The word “Lent” comes from the Old English word “lengten,” which simply means “spring” — when the days lengthen and new life springs forth. It is a time in which we anticipate the victory of the light and life of Christ over the darkness of sin and death. It is, to borrow a phrase from C.S. Lewis, a season of a kind of “happiness and wonder that makes you serious.” It is our prayer that as you journey with us from Ash Wednesday to Easter, you would be reminded of the reality of our broken humanity, but as days grow brighter, you would experience with greater abundance the reality of God’s redeeming grace. And so, just as we carefully prepare for big events in our personal lives, such as a wedding or commencement, Lent invites us to make our hearts ready for remembering Jesus’ death and resurrection.

On the Christian calendar, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends the day before Easter. Although the season is marked by daily fasting, Sundays are excluded, bringing the total number of days to 40 — a biblically significant number representing trial, testing and preparation. At Elgin Vineyard, our observance of Lent is marked by three pieces: fasting, prayer and daily reflections.


Fasting reminds us that Christian discipleship means saying “no” to our selfish desires in the ongoing battle against sin. When we humble ourselves in fasting and prayer, it is not to earn God's blessing. Instead, we rejoice in the assurance that we already stand in favor with a God who exalts those who humble themselves. How great is our God!
Pastor Tom is encouraging our church family to fast for the 40 days of Lent. We'll be doing it together, with everyone fasting the same kind of thing on the same days. We're also doing it individually; within that general fasting focus is latitude for you to decide (with the Lord's direction) the specifics of what and how you will fast.

Feb 22-Mar 4  |  Food  You could give up a specific thing like caffeine or sugar, for ex., or a whole meal every day or all meals for a number of days.
Mar 6-16  |  Media   Take a break from social media, favorite TV shows, news programs or something along that line.
Mar 17-28  |  Spending  This doesn't pertain to necessities, only extras, and deciding whether an expense is a "need" or a "want" is between you and God.
Mar 29-Apr 8  |  Hurry   Look for new ways to slow down, enjoy the moment, and be open for God.

It might look like the days are not counted correctly, since we're saying four periods of 10 days each. But Sundays are not included in the 40 days of Lent; traditionally they have been considered feast days. Please note that while fasting does include a denial of self, that is not the end goal. The goal is to decrease distractions in order to increase our focus on the Lord.


A major goal for the 40 days is for everyone to increase their individual time with the Lord. We also want to encourage participation in our worship and prayer times together. Please join us as often as you can! In fact, we'll be having some expression of corporate prayer nearly every day during Lent. Click here to view all the opportunities. 

Monday & Tuesday  |  6 am on Zoom
Wednesday-Friday  |  6 am on Zoom and in-person, Room 207
Enter the church building through the alley door
You may or may not think of yourself as a prayer warrior, but please challenge yourself to participate.  We are the body of Christ; we all are called to be people of prayer. With all the many challenges of our day, it's time to get into God's presence and get his perspective, his grace and his healing . . . for his glory.

Daily Reflections

This year we are using a devotional from Gospel in Life, which is the resource site for Timothy Keller and Redeemer Churches & Ministries. The series was created and compiled by Redeemer Presbyterian Church staff. Daily readings begin in Genesis and journey through the entire Scriptures, from the law to the prophets to the New Testament, showing that all Scripture is about Jesus and culminates in his life, death and resurrection. As you make this Lent pilgrimage, may these daily readings provide timely refreshment and renewed hope.

Look for each day's devotion in your email inbox every morning, or you can find the devotions on our mobile app.