In our reading today we were introduced to an elderly widow. Here is what the Bible says about her, “Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. 37 Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.” Luke 2:36-37 (NLT)
Anna was very old, but in no way “on the shelf” from God’s perspective. She has the distinction of being a prophet, which meant that she was known as someone who God spoke to and spoke through. Prophets were very knowledgeable of the Bible and were able speak clearly about God’s perspective and plans. The test of a prophet was simply being Biblically faithful and accurate. Anna shows us a regular pattern that built her close connection with God – “worshiping God with fasting and prayer”. I love this! Anna shows us that if we want to tap into all that God offers, we have the means through deliberate and persistent pursuit of Him. Worship means that we humbly recognize that we need what only God offers. Fasting reminds us of where our ultimate source of hope is found. Prayer is our lifeline of two way communication with our Heavenly Father.
This past Monday night we had a huge crowd join together in a video conference of prayer. We had so many that we exceeded our 100-person maximum. It was so powerful that we are planning to do it again next Monday, with increased capacity. Being vitally connected to God, and pursuing His will, provides us the power to make a difference that often goes untapped. Anna got to see how God was answering the prayers for the Messiah to come… what does He have in store for us?!