By Charlotte Barton
Luke 2:36-38 (Amplified Bible)
36)And there was also a prophetess, Anna, the
daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having
lived with her husband seven years from her maidenhood, 37)And as a
widow even for eighty-four years. She did not go out from the temple
enclosure, but was worshiping night and day with fasting and prayer.
3)8And she too came up at that same hour, and she returned thanks to God
and talked of [Jesus] to all who were looking for the redemption
(deliverance) of Jerusalem.
Anna is a prophetess, daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. Asher was a son of Jacob. Genesis 49:1 says, “And Jacob called for his sons and said, ‘Gather yourselves together [around me], that I may tell you what shall befall you in the latter or last days’”. Jacob is telling what will occur in the latter or last days with his sons (giving a prophetic word from God). Jacob prophecies in Genesis 49:20, “Asher's food [supply] shall be rich and fat, and he shall yield and deliver royal delights.” So, Anna's prophetic calling goes all the way back to her forefather, Jacob. Even if it wasn't an actual prophetic calling he was carrying out, he was being obedient to God in speaking prophetic blessings over his children.
There may be individuals reading this who are prophets, prophetesses, or have a prophetic gift that God is wanting to use to speak and minister to the lives of others. Listen to and obey that still small voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit. God is calling you out of the spiritual cave. Just as Elijah had to learn to hear the voice of God, you also are to learn to know His voice. As Anna remained in His presence, she remained focused and devoted to learning to hear His voice and to obey His voice and call on her life.
Going back to the reference (Gen. 49:20) of Anna's forefather, Jacob, in which he prophesied to his children's future. If Anna had children, I'm sure she prophesied to them. As parents and future parents, we are to prophecy according to God's Word, to our children. Speak those things, as though they are, into existence. “Son or daughter, I call you blessed and favored of God. Your steps are ordered of God. I call you a mighty man or woman of God. You are a man or woman after God's own heart. You are blessed and favored of God. Your latter years will be greater than the former.” Even if you do not have children yet or are believing that you will have children, speak these types of Words to your children that you will have in the future. Prepare and cultivate God's path and will in your future children's lives even long before they are born.
This portion of scripture says that during the time she was married AND during the time she was a widow, she did not leave the temple enclosure. I know as a wife, possibly as a mother, and as a prophetess in ministry, she must have been a very busy woman. But despite being pulled and stretched in many directions and having the load of many responsibilities, she remained in the temple enclosure, she remained devoted to God and His calling, she refused to be distracted from focusing on God and ministry. Luke 2:37, says that she worshiped night and day with prayer and fasting. As Children of God we are to pray without ceasing. How did she do it? How do we do that and still carry out all the responsibilities we have? In Ephesians 6:18, Paul says, “Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit with all [manner of] prayer and supplication.” So, while you are cleaning the kitchen, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, working at your job you can pray. Even singing to the Lord is considered an “all manner of prayer and supplication”. Meditating and thinking about God and His Word is also a “manner of prayer”.
We must not forget the “fasting” part. Fasting is a very important weapon against Satan. Together with prayer, fasting will tear down and destroy mighty strongholds in the spiritual realm. It is not only beneficial spiritually, but also physically. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and are expected to take care of our bodies. Fasting is proven to be healthy for our bodies. It requires discipline, but when done, the body's digestive system can rest and toxins can be removed from the body. It also, of course, draws us closer to God as we set and focus our body, soul, and spirit completely upon Him during the time of sacrifice.
In continuing on with the study of this portion of scripture we see in verse 38, Anna's obedience and steps being ordered by God. The Message Bible says, “At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up...” This was no coincidence. She was obedient to “go” when God said to go. God ordered her steps to cross Simeon's path just at the right time. Psalm 37:23 says, “the steps of a good man are ordered and directed and established by the Lord when He delights in His way.” Men and women of God, your steps are ordered, directed, and established by the Lord.
In bringing this study of Anna to a close, we see that she was a mighty woman of God and that she is a wonderful example to pattern our lives after. Just as Anna, we too should remain devoted and focused to God's calling, on our lives, whatever that may be, to hearing His voice and obeying, and to staying in His presence through prayer and fasting while still carrying on our necessary responsibilities. God is calling us forth to be an “Anna” for the Kingdom of God.