Jesus speaks to His disciples about how their practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving should be carried out. He ultimately explains that when they do offer sacrifice in anyone of these forms to remember it is about themselves. Christ explains that when we do these things it is not so that others notice our piety or level of sacrifice but that it remains hidden to the Father alone.
The prophet Joel gives us more to think of on the topic of offering.
Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. Joel 2:12-13
We are reminded that returning to the Lord has everything to do with the heart, with what is on the inside, not the externals. When we offer prayer, fasting, or almsgiving it is meant to come from the heart towards others and God. Any of these three we are called to perform during Lent as a way of growing in love with God. It also becomes a way to respond even more to the love that Christ poured out on Good Friday, a love all of us can and should respond to better then we have.
As we begin this Lent remember that it is all about making that return to God and leaving behind those things that get in the way of that love that comes to us from Him.