39 Ways to Keep Lent Holy (without giving up sweets)

“The Lord delights in every little step you take.”
Saint Francis de Sales


There have been years where Lent has come and gone, and I had not made any extra effort to grow closer to God or make small sacrifices to strengthen my soul.

I think I felt intimidated.  I didn’t want to fail, so therefore, I did nothing.

Maybe I felt like I honestly try to be the best Christian I can be every day of the year.  As I write this I see the pride and arrogance in that way of thinking.  We can always grow closer to Christ.  He thirsts for us.  True happiness and joy can be found in Him.  Lent is a way to grow closer to Love Himself.

I’ve created this “checklist” to make sure I embrace Lent this year and I wanted to share it with you.  This list consists of many suggestions.  There is a high probability that I will not do all of them – however, I plan to do many.  In a way, I’m making up for some past “lazy Lents”.

Some suggestions are easy, others are more challenging.  All take some effort and time.  For each step we take to grow closer to Christ, the Lord delights!

Here are 39 actions you can choose to do this Lent that will help you step closer to Him ♥

Some of these can be done once.  Some may you want to do more than once.  You decide.


  1. Make it a point to get Ashes on Ash Wednesday.  Honor that day by only eating one meal.  Truly fast on that day and offer moments of hunger to the Lord and for the souls in purgatory. Take a moment at some point on this day to acknowledge that this is a season that should be a time of more prayer and sacrifice.
  2. Fill a trash bag with clothes you don’t need or wear.  Donate them to a charity.
  3. Pray a decade of the Rosary in the car before you turn on the radio.
  4. End screen time a 9:00 pm.  Read a faith inspired book.
  5. Pray before every meal one day.
  6. Try Sara’s 5-minute Sacrifice idea.
  7. Read a faith based book to a child.
  8. Attend a Parish/local church event.  Most parishes do something during Lent.  Check your bulletin and see what is being offered.  Go.
  9. Drink only water for one day.
  10. Say a prayer before you look at your phone in the morning.
  11. Visit someone who is lonely.  Bring donuts.  Stay for at least 30 minutes.
  12. Send someone who is sick a card.  Write a prayer in that card too.
  13. Ask someone to pray the Rosary with you.
  14. Go to Mass one day during the week.
  15. Go to Confession.
  16. Spiritually Adopt an unborn child (free printable here: God Hears Us: A Spiritual Adoption Miracle {Free Printable})
  17. Give one hour of one day to the 40 Days for Life Campaign
  18. Get to Sunday Mass five or ten minutes before it begins.  Kneel, pray and be silent.
  19. Sign up for the Do-it-Yourself Retreat put together by John Paul and Annie at PrayMoreNovenas.com Make some time to “retreat”.
  20. Watch a Father Mike Schmitz Video at Ascension Presents.  They are usually only 5 minutes long and very informative!
  21. Start a Letters of Love book in your family (see more details at Not so Formulaic on Facebook and Ginny’s website: Not So Formulaic)
  22. Visit Jesus at Eucharistic Adoration – even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
  23. Start a prayer journal!  Make sure you come back here for journal prompts I will share soon!
  24. Don’t eat meat on Fridays!  If you crave it, offer that desire to the Lord.  Make an effort to be aware on Fridays of what you eat, order, pack, etc.
  25. Pray a Novena. My favorites are to Saint Therese’ and St. Joseph.  There is also one to Our Lady Undoer of Knots that is a favorite of Pope Francis!
  26. Visit a shrine.  Light a candle, give a donation, kneel and pray.
  27. Set your phone for 3:00 pm.  Pray this prayer:

    3 O’Clock Prayer to the Divine Mercy
    You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls
    and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.
    O Fountain of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy,
    envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

    O Blood and Water,
    which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus
    as a fountain of mercy for us,
    I trust in You.

    Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One,
    Have mercy on us and on the whole world. (3 times)

    JESUS, King of mercy, I trust in You! Amen.

  28. Leave your phone at home.
  29. Only listen to Christian music radio today.
  30. Married?  Do the Love Dare!
  31. Are you on Instagram?  Participate in a Lenten Photo Challenge!  Here’s one:Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 7.43.31 AM.png
  32. Take one day to pray and offer sacrifices for someone you DON’T like, understand or have a lot of respect for.  Truly pray for his or her soul.
  33. Check out these ideas for kids and teens – some are also great ideas for adults (like sleep on the floor instead of your bed one night)! See more here: Lent ideas
  34. Use a Mason jar a piggy bank and make it a “Lent bank”.  Each day, put something in it – even if it’s just a nickel.  Each time you put the coin or money in the bank pray, “Lord, lead me to the person or group that needs this donation.”  When Lent is over, donate that money to where you were lead.
  35. Go for a run or do a workout without music.  When it gets painful and you are tempted to stop – think of Jesus’ Passion and keep going for at least one more minute.
  36. Carry a small Lenten pamphlet with you, like Sacred Space by the Irish Jesuits.  When you have some down time, read it instead of looking at your phone.
  37. Sit down with the Bible, pray “Come, Holy Spirit, fill my heart and enkindle in me the fire of your love”.  Then read some Scripture slowly.
  38. If you do not already, consider wearing a Crucifix or Miraculous Medal (read why I wear I Miraculous Medal here: Five Reasons Why I Wear a Miraculous Medal – and Maybe You Should Too)
  39. Go for a walk.  Talk to Jesus the whole time.

Want a printable chart to keep you on task?  Here is one for you!

Print it out, put it in your planner, hang in on a mirror or on the fridge!  Use it as a way to remind you to do something every day that will help you grow closer to the Lord!

39 Ways to Keep Lent Holy Chart

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  1. February 20, 2017
    • February 20, 2017
  2. February 20, 2017
    • February 20, 2017
  3. February 20, 2017
    • February 20, 2017
  4. February 20, 2017
    • February 20, 2017
    • February 20, 2017
  5. February 20, 2017
    • February 20, 2017
  6. February 21, 2017
    • February 21, 2017
  7. February 21, 2017
    • February 21, 2017
  8. February 21, 2017
    • February 22, 2017
  9. February 21, 2017
    • February 21, 2017
  10. February 22, 2017
    • February 22, 2017

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