Welcome to Day 13 of 20 Women in Scripture You Need to Know! I am excited about this series and hope it is an encouragement to both women and men to spend time studying the women in the Bible. We can learn much from them about how to live for the glory of God.
Anna: Lifelong Worship
My husband’s grandmother is 90. And she is one of my dearest friends and mentors. I lived with her and Papaw for about nine months before Scott and I married. She’s my first call when I want someone to pray for me and my favorite stop when I have a few minutes free to visit. She’s taught me so many things in the past 24+ years — from how to bake a red velvet cake from scratch to how to love your family with generosity and grace. And I am so thankful for all of that. I am, in more ways than I could list, who I am today because of the role she has played in my life.
But the one thing I most admire in her life and want to live out in my own life is her devotion to the Lord above all.
Lifelong faith is becoming a rarer thing. I think that’s why I find myself drawn to the senior adult women in our church. I want to learn from them and hear their stories. I want to understand where they’ve struggled and how God has strengthened them.
But I also find myself inspired by the “older” women in Scripture. And one in particular always stands out to me — Anna.
Well Along in Years
There was also a prophetess, Anna, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was well along in years, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and was a widow for eighty-four years.Luke 2: 36-37a CSB
“Well along in years.” What a kind way to say she was old. If she got married at the average age of girls at the time she was probably 14. Married seven years makes her 21 and a widow. And, at the time of Jesus’ circumcision, she would have been over 100. Y’all, that is for sure well along in years, right?
Eighty-four years of living as a widow in a culture that didn’t value women. Eighty-four years of being on her own. What did she do?
Serving the Lord
She did not leave the temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers.Luke 2:37b CSB
Okay. Let’s just stop right here. Read that verse again.
She did not leave the temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers.
Makes me think of David’s prayer in Psalm 27:
I have asked one thing from the Lord;Psalm 27:4 CSB
it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
gazing on the beauty of the Lord
and seeking him in his temple.
She had literally dwelt in the house of the Lord for 84 years, praying and fasting and serving Him.
What an incredible testimony! Imagine our lives if we made it our aim to dwell in His presence at all times. What would that look like? I think Paul spoke to it in his letter to Colossians:
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him … Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people.Colossians 3:17, 23 CSB
We may not live in the Temple for 84 years, but we can absolutely spend our days devoted to the Lord, to serving and worshiping Him in everything we do.
Blessing of Devotion
At that very moment, she came up and began to thank God and to speak about him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of JerusalemLuke 2:38 CSB
At what moment? For that we need to look back a few verses and see what was happening. In verses 29-32, we find Simeon recognizing Jesus as the Messiah. At at that moment, when the baby is being declared the King, Anna walks up and begins to praise the Lord, to thank Him, and to tell others about the redemption that had come.
Anna, the woman who had devoted nearly century to serving the Lord, was now seeing with her own eyes the Salvation she had prayed would come.
Truly, her faith had become sight!
A Lesson for Us
How devoted are we to worship? How much do we long to be in the sweet presence of the Lord? How much of our time are we spending serving Him? How committed are we to prayer and fasting?
These are hard questions, ones that dig deep into the very way we allocate our time, the priorities we live out day by day.
Anna offers us a picture of genuine devotion and worship. Her days were full of serving and prayer and fasting. She was ALL IN for the Lord. And, that really pushes me to consider my own devotion to the Lord and desire to know Him and bear fruit for His glory.
Anna’s story should inspire us … but it should also move us into action. Will we live totally by faith until the blessed day that our faith is made sight?Anna, the woman who had devoted nearly century to serving the Lord, saw with her own eyes the Salvation she had prayed would come. Truly, her faith had become sight! Click To Tweet
A Prayer for Us
Lord, how we pray for hearts like Anna’s. May we be fully devoted to You, delighting in Your presence, content to dwell in Your house. May we serve with gladness and pray with confidence as we look forward to the day when we too will have our faith be made sight! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
This post is part of the 20 Women in Scripture You Need to Know series. You can find every post indexed here.