The Bible doesn’t say much about Anna the Prophetess, but we know that she was devoted to God! Steph looks at Anna determining what we can learn from her.
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I admire Anna the prophetess and I wish were more like her in many ways.
We read her brief but powerful story in Luke 2:36-38: “And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (ESV).
First, Anna was a prophetess. She and the Lord had a special relationship.
If we have been saved through faith in Jesus Christ, we, too, have a special relationship with the Lord, but most of us are busy with our other relationships as well. I know I am. Our spouse. Our children. Our friends, co-workers, and neighbours. And the list goes on.
While none of us may be called to live as Anna did, just like her, we must learn to seek the Lord, to give Him the #1 spot in our lives. Our relationship with Him must take priority over even our closest human relationships.
Anna was completely devoted to Him. He was, most certainly, her First Love.
I am one of those women who, from a young age, imagined herself a wife and mother. Even decades later, there are still times I marvel that I have a devoted, loving husband, one sent from God, one whom I don’t deserve. Maybe now, after 35 years of marriage, I could see myself remaining single if something happened to Dave. But after only seven years? I don’t think so. But that’s what Anna did.
Just like her, whether we’re married or single, we must develop our relationship with the One who is to be our First Love.
Anna’s spiritual pursuits were not merely items on her To Do list.
Are Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance simply something we check off our list? While God does call us to do all that we do as if doing it for Him—raising our children, doing our job, interacting with our friends—we are to make spiritual disciplines a high priority.
First Thessalonians 5:17 says we are to “pray without ceasing” (ESV).
Matthew 6 includes the statements “when you give to the needy” (v. 2), “when you pray” (v. 5), and “when you fast” (v. 16). Did you notice these weren’t “if” statements but “when” statements? God expects these things of us, though He does expect us to do them with a right heart—but maybe not to the same decree as Anna the prophetess.
If we’ve been Christians for a number of years, perhaps we don’t overflow with wonder and thanksgiving as we did when we first realized He paid the price for our sin and drew us into His family. Life has a way of pressing in on us and distracting us from right responses to the Lord. But we can recapture that sense of awe.
Just like Anna, we must come apart. She did so for decades. However, we may be called to make it a priority in the midst of day-to-day busyness. And no matter how old we get, our Saviour, Redeemer, and Lord deserves our devotion and praise.
The prophetess then went on to share the good news with “all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.”
It seems a natural response to want to share the message of the Saviour with family, friends, everyone we encounter. But, too often and for many reasons, we don’t do so.
Sure, they may not want to hear. They may reject the Truth. They may ridicule us for being “religious and superstitious.” But, if we’ve encountered Him, just like Anna did, we are called to make Him known.
As I was contemplating this, I thought back to the other things we’ve learned about Anna. She was devoted to the Lord. She came apart to be with Him. She fasted and prayed on an ongoing, regular basis. He had the #1 place in her life. He was her First Love.
As we seek to be just like her in these ways, we will likely want to share the amazing and joyous news that the Messiah has come. We will want others to get to know Him as we do.
Will some refuse to accept the Truth and turn their back on Jesus? It’s guaranteed. But thankfully, it’s not our job to convince them, just to share with them about the One who deserves our devotion.
Let’s spend so much time with the Lord that the desire to share what we’ve learned and what we’ve experienced is stronger than the “what ifs” that cross our mind when we think of sharing our faith with others.
Thank you so much for listening. Just like He was in Anna’s life, may the Lord be our First Love, and may we make Him known.
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Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is the coauthor of Paralympian Deb Willows’ award-winning memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances, published by Castle Quay Books.
Steph is a member of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and The Word Guild. She and her husband of over 30 years live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
Steph’s goal is to nurture and inspire. She blogs at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests. She also guest posts regularly on the topics of Christian living, writing, and fitness. You can visit her website, stephbethnickel.com, to learn more about her.
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