And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She did not leave the temple grounds, serving night and day with fasts and prayers. 38 And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak about Him to all those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. – Luke 2:36-38
There are many reasons to fast and pray, one being to worship God. In Luke 2, Simeon and Anna recognize Jesus. Verse 25, states that Simeon was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Simeon and Anna were devoted to God. In fact, Anna did not leave the temple, serving God with ‘fasts and prayer’. In verse 38, she saw Jesus and gave thanks to God, and continued to speak about Him to all those who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
Simeon and Anna are a reminder of what God does for those who are devoted and obedient. Anna spent her life fasting and praying in the temple. God shows us that those who are obedient get to see so much more than those who aren’t. That he hears and responds to our desires when we are obedient to him; in this case for Simeon and Anna to see Jesus before their death.
For us, Christians waiting for the return of Jesus Christ, Simeon and Anna represent the type of devotion and discipline we should have in preparation for his return. He came and left after dying for our sins. He rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father. John 14:3, he tells us, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be.
Anna believed in the promise of God. Unlike us, she did not witness his glory, healing or power. Yet, she was steadfast in her faith. Many of us are still struggling with the return of Jesus Christ. Many of us are still not committed even though he has already proven his existence to us. If Anna could believe in his coming without proof, what little faith we have? As you fast and pray think of your faith. Remember how God blessed Simeon and Anna because of their devotion and how you can grow closer to him as you wait for the return of Jesus Christ.