"Almsgiving can be part of everyone's Lenten practice, no matter your age. Almsgiving is simply a response by us to God, a response that we have to through prayer."
Church tradition through the centuries have focused on three practices that the faithful should follow during Lent - prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
Prayer is our conversation with God. It is through prayer that we find the strength to fast and give to others. It is through prayer that we develop a closer, more intimate relationship with God. This relationship makes us so grateful for the blessings we have received, that we eagerly give to others.
Fasting is one of the most ancient actions linked to Lent. Fasting rules have changed through the ages, but throughout Christian history fasting has been considered sacred. The prophet Isaiah insists that fasting without changing our behavior is not pleasing to God. Therefore, the goal of fasting is linked with prayer. The pangs of hunger remind us of our hunger for God, and prayer and fasting together brings us to what Lent is about - a deeper conversion.
Almsgiving. While fasting may not be appropriate (or advisable) for everyone, almsgiving can be part of everyone's Lenten practice, no matter your age. Almsgiving is simply a response by us to God, a response that we have to through prayer. It is an expression of our gratitude for all that God has given us, and a realization that it is never just about "me and God."
Through prayer we come to a deeper understanding that the needs of all are the responsibility of all in the Body of Christ. Works of charity and the promotion of justice are integral elements of the Christian way of life we began when we were baptize.
Free Lenten Giving Calendar
Lent is a perfect time to practice almsgiving along with regular prayer. For a fun and visual way to encourage generosity, download this colorful and interactive calendar. This resource will help you count the days toward Easter while remembering ways to give to others:
2015 Lenten Giving Calendar
Jenifer Gamber has been involved in Christian formation since she began teaching Sunday school as a teenager. The author of My Faith, My Life and Your Faith, Your Life for adults, she is a popular speaker on the topics of spirituality, prayer, and teen faith formation. Her website, offers a wealth of resources for adults who work with youth. Her most recent book is Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People.