Sunday, 24 June 2018

Prayer and fasting

Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. – Luke 2.36-37

Anna was another dear old saint. It is hard to tell from the way this is worded, and scholars differ, but needless to say she had been serving in the Temple a long, long time.

It is her service that impresses me. Her ministry was fasting and praying. Only fasting and praying? Is that all she did? People were doing all kinds of works and this old lady gets praised because she fasted and prayed and she got to see the arrival of the Redeemer?

I think rather than see things that we way we ought to see what an important ministry fasting and praying is. Later, when Jesus is grown up and in His ministry He will tell His disciples that certain things can only be accomplished by prayer and fasting.

It is amazing how busy we get in life and family and business and just general busyness. This wonderful old saint decided that the most important thing she could do was fast and pray. That certainly is not a ministry for everyone, or nothing practical would get done, but I think we can recognise that there is plenty of room for fasting and prayer in our lives today.

Simeon and Anna: two of my Bible heroes as I get older.

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