Suggestions for Your Lenten Fast

Many churches have disciplines regarding Lent fasting. Orthodox Christians have a strict fast. Catholics are expected to abstain from meat on all of the Fridays during Lent, called Abstinence Days. Meat is defined as the flesh of warm-blooded animals. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, official Western fast days, only one full meal is allowed (and it must be meatless). One may eat other small meatless meals, so long as they do not, when combined, add up to an additional full meal. Liquids, such as coffee and teas, are permitted anytime on fast days, but snacking is not. These restrictions do not prevent you from adding your own Lenten disciplines.

Below are some ideas for restrictions/sacrifices and beneficial additions to your Lenten disciplines. Remember that Lent is about spiritual transformation and conversion, and it is basically a spiritual training period. Through our Lenten disciplines and prayer, we become more like Jesus and grow closer to God. One way we focus on Christ, and not on material goods, is to make sacrifices during Lent. For instance, watching television is not sinful in itself, but since most people enjoy it, giving it up for 40 days is a sacrifice.

Restrictions and Sacrifices (i.e. "giving up" or limiting):


Restrictions and positive additions often overlap. For instance, some people give up swearing for Lent, but each time they accidentally do swear they put money in a jar. Not only does this discourage future swearing, the money in the jar can be given to charity at the end of Lent. Similarly, some people give up a luxury habit (for example, buying coffee) and donate to chairty the money that this saves them.

Embracing a Spiritual Theme:

One way to make positive changes during Lent is to focus on a particular theme during Lent and cultivate virtues related to it. Below are some ideas and suggestions.

These are just a few suggestions on how to fast during Lent. Think of some your own! One person's fast is not always appropriate for another.


Compiled by