A Plan for Lent

By Fr. Patrick Cardine of St. Patrick’s Orthodox Church in Bealeton, VA.


Life is short. I only have so many Lent’s to take advantage of and I am tired of getting to the end of Lent regretting that I squandered yet another opportunity to grow in my salvation. I don’t want to waste another Lent. I am resolved to not settle for mediocrity and the status quo in my spiritual life. No more coasting. God help me this Lent to be deliberate and conscientious about my Lenten disciplines. The most amazing and wonderful thing in the world is that God has made Himself totally accessible in Jesus Christ. I can go to Him, call upon Him, be with Him- the only thing keeping me away is my laziness, lack of faith, and disobedience. It is time to awake, to rise and move up the mountain. 

Below is a short and partial list of things you can do to have a holy Lent. This list is really what we should be doing all year and yet Lent gives us an opportunity to re-group and put forth extra effort to make a new beginning in our quest for God and a holy life. You must be deliberate; it is important to plan, think ahead, and make a list and schedule for yourself. Otherwise Lent will pass you by and you will come to its end once again with regrets of how you wasted yet another opportunity. May none of us say at the end of this Lenten season; “well maybe next year…..?”

The purpose of everything we do in Lent is to draw us closer to God. If we fast and do not pray we have gained nothing. Keep in mind we do not do these things for their own sake but to orient ourselves to God for repentance and prayer. 

  • Keep the Fast both in form and in spirit. 

  • Don’t obsess about food- keep it simple

  • Fast from anger, envy, strife, 

  • Pay attention to my thoughts

  • Ask forgiveness and reconcile with “that person…”

  • Spend at least 5 minutes two times a day in silent stillness before God- longer would be better

  • Be faithful to your prayer rule

  • If you have been faithful to your prayer rule- increase your prayer 

  • Read the Scriptures daily (see suggested Lenten Lectionary)

  • Read a spiritual book 

  • Turn the radio off in the car and pray 

  • Curtail or eliminate: social media, un-necessary internet use, TV, and radio

  • Curtail: activities, travel, entertainment

  • Simplify your schedule 

  • Prepare for a good confession – and before Holy Week

  • Come to more services

  • Show up to services early and quietly prepare 

  • Increase your giving, Tithes, offerings, and alms

  • Do not please yourself but offer your time, energy and interest to the needs of someone else. 

  • Eat dinner together as a family

The following Lenten reading plan goes through all four Gospels and the twelve Prophecies read on Holy Saturday at the Vigil.

Lent reading plan