Setting our hearts like Anna

Many of us have known an old and faithful prayer warrior, and the immense influence of their years of dedicated intercession for us.  Their life stands as a testimony to us.  But how does someone end up with a ministry like that?  I often think of the biblical character Anna.  We don’t know the stories and struggles that this widow underwent, but by the end her prayer had come to define everything about her.  From my youth, I want to set my heart to end up like Anna.

She did not depart from the temple, worshipping with fasting and prayer night and day.
— Luke 2:37

From Jesus’ response to the temple as a grown man we see it wasn’t always as glorious an environment as we might like to imagine.  But undiscouraged, Anna didn’t loose heart and continued to pray.  She’s a forerunner, standing apart from her generation and as an inspiration for the next.  

What is her prayer?  All we know is that her prayer and her fasting accompanied her worshipping.  Perhaps her abandonment started off as a desperate cry for help, but in time her prayer became a response to His fatherly love and glory.  Her perseverance is oriented around the worth of God, and her prayer follows this encounter with Him first and foremost.  Whether she started out seeking this position or not, she ministers to the Lord as an expression of His surpassing worth.  

What’s so compelling about Anna’s witness is that her prayer can’t be dismissed as a hobby or lifestyle.  Anna had no need to be in the house of God by day and by night, as though you might swing by a 24/7 McDonalds after a night shift or a night out.  Night and day prayer simply isn’t about the convenience of being able to fit our prayer life around our already overly busy schedules and lifestyles.  Night and day prayer is about everything else coming second to God - it’s about giving the best and the hardest portions of every day all to God.  Because the revelation of His worth can’t be set aside anything else in this world.  Anna’s heart is gripped to stand before God and give Him his due through every difficult season, persevering over the long haul because ‘He is Good’.

So how can we set our hearts to end up with a testimony like Anna?

Firstly, be intentional about growing in prayer - we need to persevere, not loosing heart, but stirring ourselves to come back to God again and again.  It may not always seem as romantic as when we first start.  

Secondly, when a revelation of God’s worth captures your heart don’t compromise on the opportunity to draw nearer to God whatever the cost. 

Finally, be part of a corporate expression of night & day worship and prayer that stands as a concrete expression of God’s worth.  Set aside a time in your week to come and be strengthened as we join together in worship and prayer. 

Renew your commitment to Jesus today, above everything and anything else, and allow Him to renew the dreams and visions He has placed in your heart.