The Turning—Beginning with Ash Wednesday and climaxing in Holy Week, Lent is a season of preparation and opportunity to ‘arrange our life around the practices that Jesus engaged in to receive life and power from the Father.’ –Dallas Willard. The thought of transformation into a greater life is water to our soul. This is the purpose of the Lenten fast. Lent is 40 days (the number of days Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness and one day for each year Israel wandered in the desert), but does not include Sundays (because every Sunday is a feast day, a day for celebrating resurrection).
During Lent we may choose to fast from certain practices (radio, TV, texting, surfing the web, video games, reading magazines/fiction) or particular foods (sweets, meat, alcohol, ice cream, lunches) for the purpose of taking up other practices (prayer, solitude, greater giving, serving, spending time with shut-ins, meditation). By fasting from certain things, we practice dying to ourselves. We choose disciplines that help us become the kind of people God desires us to be. The Lenten Sacrifice is not God wanting something FROM us, but FOR us: a people of resurrection!
The color for Lent is purple, symbolizing penitence and mourning.