Lent ~ It’s Not Just Giving Up Chocolate

When I was growing up in south Georgia, my Episcopalian friends Mercer and Lisa always proudly announced this time of year that they were “giving up chocolate for Lent!” I never really knew what that meant. All I knew is that they didn’t seem any holier after doing this, so I kept eating chocolate…

Now, I not only know what “Lent” means, I embrace this season – the 40 days prior to our celebration of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is one of the holiest and most significant observances in the life of a believer and definitely deserves more than just a one-day acknowledgement.

“Lent” derives its name from an old Saxon word lencton which literally meant length. During these 6 weeks while we are repenting and reflecting on what Christ did for us, the days are lengthening and we are moving from winter to spring – literally into New Life.

In the 3rd and 4th centuries Christians began the practice of a 40-day preparation period which many still embrace today. Lent is a time when our souls seek God in a fresh way. And yes, fasting is one way to do that. Some people fast from a certain  kind of food, others from tempting time-consuming activities such as television or social media. The idea is to practice denial of something so that we can focus more on what Christ has done for us.

For many followers of Christ, Lent has not been a regular observance because it’s what those “other churches” do. But I assure you, there are practices we can all embrace during this time which will draw us closer to Jesus.

How will You observe Lent this year?

  • Daily soul nurture through silence, prayer and a biblical devotional?
  • Reflection and repentance for sin in choosing another path?
  • Reaching out with love and service to those who are hurting and need hope?
  • Worshiping with the body of Christ – Holy Communion weekly?
  • Living in gratitude and sharing the Hope of Easter to all around you?

One thing we can all do during these 40 days is to set aside time each day with God – reflection, prayer and Bible reading. While there are many great resources out there, may I humbly suggest my own book, which many of you already own,  “Dwelling Places” (order here)   The 40-day section for Lent is called “RENEW” and I have listed each day’s reading below.


2020 Lenten Devotions

from “Dwelling Places”
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell



  • Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26 Day 1 “Return (page 125 in Dwelling Places)
  • Thursday, Feb. 27 Day 2 “Renewed”
  • Friday, Feb. 28 Day 3 “Pray”
  • Saturday, Feb. 29 Day 4 “Called”
  • Monday, Mar. 2 Day 5 “Winter”
  • Tuesday, Mar. 3 Day 6 “Sees”
  • Wednesday, Mar. 4 Day 7 “Forgiveness”
  • Thursday, Mar. 5 Day 8 “Hold
  • Friday, Mar. 6 Day 9 “Temptation”
  • Saturday, Mar. 7 Day 10 “Wounds”
  • Monday, Mar. 9 Day 11 “Repentance”
  • Tuesday, Mar. 10 Day 12 “Restores”
  • Wednesday, Mar. 11 Day 13 “Guide”
  • Thursday, Mar. 12 Day 14 “Wrestled”
  • Friday, Mar. 13 Day 15 “Godless Chatter”
  • Saturday, Mar. 14 Day 16 “Betray
  • Monday, Mar. 16 Day 17 “Engraved”
  • Tuesday, Mar. 17 Day 18 “Humility”
  • Wednesday, Mar. 18 Day 19 “Poured Out”
  • Thursday, Mar. 19 Day 20 “Fear”
  • Friday, Mar. 20 Day 21 “Flame”
  • Saturday, Mar. 21 Day 22 “Brokenhearted”
  • Monday, Mar. 23 Day 23 “Freedom”
  • Tuesday, Mar. 24 Day 24 “Near”
  • Wednesday, Mar. 25 Day 25 “Heart”
  • Thursday, Mar. 26 Day 26 “Hear”
  • Friday, Mar. 27 Day 27 “Sheep”
  • Saturday, Mar. 28 Day 28 “Wisdom”
  • Monday, Mar. 30 Day 29 “Name”
  • Tuesday, Mar. 31 Day 30 “Suffering”
  • Wednesday, April 1 Day 31 “Unseen”
  • Thursday, April 2 Day 32 “Power”
  • Fri. Apr. 3/Sat. Apr. 4 Day 33 “Defeated”

Holy Week 2020:

  • Monday, April 6 Day 34 “New”
  • Tuesday, April 7 Day 35 “Mercy”
  • Wednesday, April 8 Day 36 “Remember”
  • Maundy Thursday, Apr. 9 Day 37 “With Me”
  • Good Friday, April 10 Day 38 “Death”
  • Holy Saturday, April 11 Day 39 “Wept”
  • Easter Sunday, April 12 Day 40 “Resurrection”


PRAYER FOR ASH WEDNESDAY: “O, God, when we pause to look back at our lives on this Ash Wednesday,  we realize that we have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.  We have neglected to do good when it was in our power to do so. We have ignored the cries of the motherless, the fatherless, the widow and the widower choosing instead to turn children and the elderly into the new poor.We have not dealt honorably with our enemies or our friends, and we have feigned a place in the company of the righteous. Forgive us, O God,  for the times we have neglected to provide our children and our world an authentic example of Christianity. As we begin the journey of these 40 days, Wash us, O God and we shall be clean. Cleanse us, O Lord, and we  shall be made whole. Amen.”

under the mercy, Lucinda

“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity and Strength”

©2020 Lucinda Secrest McDowell      www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com

Enjoy 40 Days of Lenten Devotions “Renew” in my book “Dwelling Places” HERE

Soul Strong just released! Order “SOUL STRONG” Today …. More about Soul Strong HERE.

Check out my new companion devotional book Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell Order Today!


  1. Anne Ortman on March 5, 2019 at 8:04 am

    Good Morning Cindy,
    Anne Ortman here…I’m having a hard time downloading your lenten guide.
    I click on the red letters to see pdf and it goes to just the numbered day and topics.
    Thanks for your assistance. I would like to send it to my family;)
    Blessings, Anne

    Sent from my iPad

  2. Del on March 6, 2019 at 9:25 am

    Good Morning Lucinda~

    What a perfect devotional for the first day of Lent.. Think I’m going to head over and purchase the book for this season🙂

    Bless you and hey, why not hava a bite of Chocolate today…

    In Him,

    Del Bates

  3. Del on March 6, 2019 at 9:14 am

    I love it. I love it. I too was one of the many who gave up chocolate for lent and advent… but oh how your devotion speaks to the heart. There are many things to do, but the bottom line is to find a way, your way to draw closer to the Lord and what He has done for us.. thank you so much!

  4. Kerin on February 26, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Great explanation of the historical roots of the season. It’s a beautiful time to relinquish idols and embrace Jesus anew. Salvation is all His work. Sanctification is a collaboration. I am grateful to be His workmanship and daily seek His direction. He NEVER disappoints…

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on February 26, 2020 at 3:56 pm

      Yes, Kerin, sancitification is definitely a collaboration. A Blessed Lent to you…

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on February 26, 2020 at 3:57 pm

      Yes, Kerin, sanctification is definitely a collaboration. Blessed Lent to you…

  5. Elizabeth Brandes on February 26, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    I appreciate your thoughtful reflection on this season. Thanks for giving to all of us.

    • Lucinda Secrest McDowell on February 26, 2020 at 3:57 pm

      Thank you, Beth, for your encouragement. A Blessed Lenten season to you and yours…

  6. Maggie Rowe on February 26, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Just printed out the devotional schedule so I can go through Dwelling Places again this Lent. Thank you Cindy for reminding us once again of the significance of this season.

  7. Tracy Arntzen on February 27, 2020 at 2:32 am

    Thank you for these encouragements. One special Lenten tradition I have from my Catholic upbringing is stations of the cross observed on Fridays during lent. It is a special remembrance if Christ’s journey to the cross and true to scripture.

  8. Maureen on February 27, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    A wonderful way to worship throughout Lent. Thank you! <3

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