One of the things that has always stirred my heart during the Christmas season is the depth of meaning found in the lyrics of many classic Christmas carols. In a little known carol written in 1781, The People That in Darkness Sat, is this brief prayer, “Lord Jesus reign in us, we pray, And make us Thine alone.”
This prayer seeks to have Jesus in His proper place in our lives. The Christ child was born to be King, not just of the Jews, but also to be the King of our hearts. We were born to belong to Him, to know Him, to adore Him, and to live for Him. This prayer of surrender to the Lordship of Christ was evident in the life of Anna. Her heart was set upon the Lord, and her life was set apart to the Lord, long before Jesus came into the world.
We are introduced to Anna, one of the women of faith in the Bible, in Luke 2:36-38. It is the only place where she is mentioned in Scripture. We are only given a snapshot of her life, but what a powerful image it is! The Scriptures tell us Anna was a very old woman at the time of Jesus’ birth. She was widowed as a young woman, having lost her husband after seven years of marriage. After her husband’s death, she lived a life separated unto the Lord, frequently being at the Temple to pray and worship
Anna was a Jewish prophetess from the tribe of Asher. Asher was identified by Moses as “Happy and blessed…whose feet would be bathed in olive oil.” Deuteronomy 33:24. This was certainly true of Anna, for she was bathed with unspeakable joy and blessing at the appearing of God’s Anointed One, the Messiah, Jesus Christ the Lord.
While at the Temple one morning, after a night of seeking God through worship, fasting, and prayer, Anna came upon Joseph and Mary at the very moment they entered the Temple with their newborn Son. We don’t know how many times Anna had prayed for the coming of the promised Messiah during her decades of intercession, but when she saw the child before her, she was infused with excitement and filled with gratitude. The promise of the Word of God that she held in her heart concerning the coming of the Redeemer of Israel had been fulfilled!
The life of Anna the Prophetess is another witness to the believer that God keeps His promises! The coming of God’s Son to earth, and His redemptive work upon the cross, are the greatest demonstrations of God’s love for us. The richest people are those who live their lives carrying the treasures of God’s promises in their hearts.
May the testimony of Anna in the Bible stir our hearts to prayer this Christmas Season. The God who cares for us, invites us to call upon Him, and His invitation assures us that He hears and answers prayer. What a privilege it is to pray, and what a blessing it is to focus our prayers upon the promises of God. Prayer is one of the greatest gifts our loved ones can receive from us. We should also be thankful for all the blessings we have in our lives because of those who have prayed for us.
This Christmas Season, may the following prayer draw you closer to God’s gift, the One who is too wonderful for words…
Lord Jesus, I open my heart to You. You are the One who came for me, died for me, and rose for me. You are my Savior! Thank You for being present in my life as my Daily Bread, my Living Water, my Word of Life, my Prince of Peace, and my Song of Songs. I acknowledge You as the Guardian of my way, the Keeper of my heart, the Provider of my needs, the Security of my future, the Sustainer of my hope, and the Foundation of my faith. In darkness I receive Your light, in weakness I receive Your strength, in uncertainty I receive Your wisdom, in conflict I receive Your victory, and in hard times I receive Your overcoming grace. Thank You for being the Way that leads me to the Father’s heart, for being the Truth that keeps me from confusion, and for being the Life that can never be depleted or taken away. Amen!
Anna, returned thanks to God and talked of Jesus…And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of God was upon Him. Luke 2:38,40 AMP
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