The story of Anna can be found in the New Testament Book of Luke Chapter 2 Verses 36-38. Anna was of the tribe of Aser, the daughter of Phanuel and a prophetess. Anna’s story is one that challenges every believer even in this present dispensation to have a close fellowship with God Almighty.
The following lessons can be deduced from her story:
- Purity is an honourable thing before marriage: The Bible records in Luke 2: 6 that Anna was a virgin when she married her husband. This was an important fact hence it was recorded in the Bible for generations unborn to read and learn from. In this present dispensation, young people quickly forget that every little detail about our life’s matter to the Lord. Retaining one’s virginity by both the man and woman before marriage is honourable It is not old-fashioned because by keeping our bodies pure before marriage we honour God because we are obeying his commandments (1 Corinthians 6: 13 and 1 Corinthians 6: 18). It is pertinent to note that Jesus Christ, however, came to seek and save the lost. If you have lived a life of sexual promiscuity before marriage, you can confess your sin and ask God to cleanse you through the blood of Jesus Christ and determine to live a holy and sexually pure life henceforth until after marriage.
- Age does not limit one from serving God: The Bible records that Anna was of great age (Luke 2: 37a). We should never let our age restrict us from serving the Lord or being found in his presence. Anna was about four score and four years. A score is twenty, so Anna was about eighty-four years old. Wow! It is incredible that even at that age she continued tarrying in the presence of the Lord in His temple. Hers is just like the story of Moses where the Bible records that despite his age, his eyesight wasn’t deemed and he was still strong to serve God (Deuteronomy 34: 7).
- Prayer and fasting is a significant service to God: Anna, despite her age, was still found in the temple day and night. The Bible went further to explain what she was doing in the temple, which happened to be prayers and fasting. This lifestyle of praying and fasting is an amazing input to the body of Christ, and it isn’t just another activity we engage in. Rather, the Lord sees it as a total service to Him. This is because when we pray and fast for others, we are ministering to his sheep and standing in the gap on their behalf and therefore doing the Lord’s will. We will do well to remember the instructions in the Bible which encourage us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5: 17). Unceasing prayers like what Anna was doing is what can birth our miracles. In her case, her prayers birthed Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the saviour of the whole world. Hallelujah!! What a mighty weapon we have in prayer. Also, we note that Anna also fasted. It is impressive that a woman of that age could still fast. We, then, are left with no excuse not to do same. Jesus Christ told his disciples that some challenges could only be overcome by fasting (Matthew 17: 21). Fasting helps us to subdue our flesh and depend more on the power of God. Every believer should inculcate fasting every now then into his prayer schedule.
- The gifts of the Spirit and callings of the Lord are open to all that believe: Anna was a prophetess. I find this very intriguing. The Lord is ready to bestow gifts and offices to anyone who will yield himself or herself as a surrendered vessel unto him (1 Timothy 2: 20-21). The Lord is not restricted by gender, colour, age or race. (Revelation 7: 9 and Joel 2: 28a). Women should particularly take note of this fact. We must not limit ourselves and feel inferior when it comes to the things of God. He is ready to use us for His glory only if we will open up to Him and be vessels of honour in His hands. We must imbibe the quality of clay which is pliability that easy to work with and willing to take on any shape the potter designs for us for his purpose (Jeremiah 18: 5). Prophecy is the gift of the spirit available to all who will ask the Lord in sincerity according to His purpose and for His glory. He has promised to pour out His spirit on all flesh and that our sons and daughters shall prophesy (Joel 2: 28). This is a fantastic reality, and we should key into this declaration by the Lord that we may be used by Him greatly for His glory.
- The beauty of being single: This could come across as an oxymoron, but in fact, it is a reality. The story of Anna has focused on the other side of being single. The Bible records that Anna was a widow for about seventy-seven years (Luke 2: 36-37) because we are told that her husband died seven years into their marriage. It is noteworthy that a woman who suffered the tragic circumstance of becoming a widow only seven years into her marriage could allow the Lord to turn the ashes of her life into beauty, and give her the oil of joy for mourning and the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61: 3). Anna did not sit back and grumble and lament about what life had dealt her. She chose to see the beauty of being single and used her time gloriously in service for the Lord. This is an excellent lesson for singles and widows/widowers today. Anna story shows that being single is not a period of complaining and continually griping and demanding a spouse from God as if our very lives depend on it. It can be a time of beauty, of growth in the things of the Lord, of being a partner in bringing forth the miracles of the Lord. This can be achieved by spending time in the presence of the Lord, meditating on His word, seeking His counsel, standing in the gap for the people of God and mentoring others. It is only in the state of being single that we can have total and undivided attention for God and the things of God. The Bible makes us to understand that an unmarried woman or man is more concerned about the Lord and how to please Him and to be devoted to the Him both in body and spirit (1 Corinthians 7: 33-34)
May the Lord help us all to imbibe the lifestyle of prayer and fasting and spending time in His presence and place Him as the utmost person of importance in our lives in Jesus name. Amen