Last week we looked at the purpose of the book of Luke and focused on, who were the Gentiles and who is Anna in this text. But this week we want to conclude this lesson by focusing on four major points that will bring result once we continue to pray fervently. Not only Anna can see these results but we also can, once our prayers are persistent.
The key focus of this lesson is not how we pray but how persistent we are in our prayers. Have you ever prayed for something for more weeks or even months and or possibly for years and knew that you have gotten the answer because of your perseverance and urgency. And you knew within yourself that if you had stop praying that you would not have seen any outcome. This shows us clearly that we must have a prayer life, because by our continual prayers of a certain need it will develop us to become praying people. We should not only pray because we have a need but should always pray because we want to stay in relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. So this week I want to encourage you find a fix time and place where you will go before the Lord for at least thirty minutes and intercede for the need (s) you have and wait for result but most importantly go before the Lord in prayers this week, just to get in the presence of the Lord and tell him how much you love, appreciate and adore him.
With prayer in mind, we want to focus on the four things that we must do in order to see results in our prayers are, we must be persistent, we must thank God for the change before it happens, we will see result and we will see visible manifestation. If these four things are done in our prayer lives, we will see noticeable outcome. The first thing we must do is:
1. Be persistent. Verse 37
Notice what it says at the end of verse 37b “but served God with fasting and prayers night and day.” Now understand that at the time of Anna’s prophesy, prophecy had ceased among the Jews for hundreds of years, about three hundred years and it now revived upon the coming of the Messiah. The Spirit of prophecy now began to revive, which had ceased in Israel. Anna was one who had understanding in the scriptures above other women, and made it her business to instruct the younger women in the things of God. And though instances of female prophetess were rare, yet there were few, both before, and after the coming of Christ Jesus; there were Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron in Exodus 15:20, Deborah, the wife of Lapidoth in Judges 4:4 and Huldah, the wife of Shallum in 2-Kings 22:14, and now Anna, at the time of Christ's birth. But afterwards there were the four daughters of Philip the Evangelist, who were virgins, in Acts 21:9.
As we look at the text we find that Anna was persistent in her needs, in that she served God in fasting and prayers night and day as she served God. The Greek word served is lat-ryoo’ and means: Acceptable service because specifically qualified or equipped also to minister to God and to be a worshipers. In the text we find that Anna served God night and day, continually without interruption in the temple. It’s amazing that it’s at that age that she was able to fast and pray. Now since Anna was an old prophetess and was able to still fast and pray, we certainly can pattern this same method in our prayers and fasting in being persistent. The second thing that we must do is:
2. We must thank God for the change before it happens. Verse 38
In verse 38 we find that Anna “gave thanks”. To give thanks is, to acknowledge fully, confess, and or to make a mutual agreement. It’s amazing that they said out of Galilee ariseth no prophet, when no sooner did prophecy revive it appeared from Galilee. John 7:52They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
Not only did the Lord Jesus Christ used Anna has a prophetess; she was the third witness to the birth of Jesus the Messiah. Anna was constant in the temple; she could not miss the opportunity of the birth of Christ. Notice that Anna did not stop thanking God for sending the Messiah, she also spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem. And Jesus birth brings miracle to the children of Israel; it was Jesus who Anna proclaimed. For it says, “For redemption in Jerusalem”. The word Redemption there is, ‘loo'-tro-sis’ and means:Properly, the payment of the full ransom-price to free a slave – particularly, the redemption of an individual, Liberation, Deliverance and or Release.
Anna spoke of him (Jesus Christ) to all them that believed the Messiah would come, and with him looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Redemption was the thing wanted, waited for, and wished for at that time in Jerusalem. Since it was mentioned before in Isaiah, 2:3And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
Note that the children of Israel were waiting for redemption, which was the same as waiting for ‘consolation’ as mentioned in verse 25. Consolation is ‘par-ak'-lay-sis’ and means, A calling to one's aid, i.e. encouragement, comfort. Or it means an "intimate call" that someone personally gives to deliver God's verdict and or the close-call" that reveals how the Lord weighs in the relevant facts (evidence). Anna wasn’t the only one that had wanted redemption for the children of Israel it was also Simeon in verse 25 who had wanted consolation and Anna who saw it happen.
Whatever it is that you need from the Lord its time you begin to thank him for it. Your praise and thanks offering does the work most of the time. Even when you don’t see visible outcomes, most of the time you may feel it strong in your spirit or see it in the spiritual realms. So go ahead and praise him for his, the breakthrough is on the way. I feel that!!!!!!!!!! The third thing that will happen is that;
3. We will see result. Verse 39
Luke now writes that Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the law of the Lord. The term law of the Lord is used interchangeably with Law of Moses in Luke 2:22 & 24 and refers to the law of God given through Moses. Luke is careful to show that Joseph and Mary were very obedient Jews, and did everything required of them by the law.
In verse thirty-nine the family, Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth after the child was born. The bible says that “When they had performed all things”. At this time the child was born and it was time for purification. Notice it says preformed all things, the Greek word performed is ‘tel-eh'-o’ and means, Accomplish, Pay, Reaching the end /aim, Finish (qualitatively) the necessary process with the results "rolling-over" to the next level, make an end and or Expire.
When you see result it means that you have reached the end of something, it means that that thing you have been praying for had happened. But when your prayers has been answer it doesn’t mean that you must stop praying, it simply means that your prayer live must become stronger and consistent. Result in prayers should push you to be more forceful, diligent aggressive and consistent in your prayer and fasting life. And Anna saw result in her fasting and prayers. Not only did she see result but she saw visible manifestation as a result of her fasting and prayers. Which was the next and last thing Anna saw, visible manifestation.
4. We will see visible manifestation. Verse 40
Luke 2:40 is more than just a summary of the first twelve years of Jesus’ life but it showed the spiritual process of his age. Let’s acknowledge that Anna prayed and fasted until she was able to see manifested in her own eyes. She was able to see the ‘child grew and waxed strong in spirit’, Jesus passed through infancy and childhood as other children did, yet without sin.
Notice that Anna prayers became visible, yes there was result. Not only can Anna alone see visible result, we also can see visible manifestation for the things we pray for. The scripture said that Jesus grew, the Greek word there is ‘owx-an'-o’ and means; Become greater in size or maturity, to make to grow and or cause to increase.
Note that both verbs are imperfect tense for obvious reasons. He grew as did any other child. Luke said that Jesus grew and became strong in spirit. These are the two phrases with which Luke points us backward to Luke 1:80 referring to John. He now introduces two phrases which point us forward to Luke 2:52 and the account in between. The first phase is that Jesus was filled with wisdom. And the word wisdom is ‘sophia’ and is the root of the English terms, "sophistication" and "philosophy" and means, Skills, Insight and Intelligence. The second phase is that Jesus had favor. And the word favor is ‘charis’ and means, Grace, Kindness and A gift or blessing brought to man by Jesus Christ.
Because Anna saw visible manifestation of the child we can conclude that when something grows, it means that it becomes more visible and God is able to manifest his divine favor and provision for us once we believe and trust him. The child was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. Here is where Jesus’ infancy ended because in verse 42 we see that it picks up when Jesus was twelve. It showed that Jesus was unchanging and infinite.
Today as we conclude this lesson, we can certainly learn from the prophetess Anna. If we continue to fast and pray, that change will happen. Once we are persistent, thank God before change happen we will see result and visible manifestation in our fasting and prayers. Therefore, this week I want to encourage you once more to pray until it happens for you. Don’t give up on that thing you have need of, only prayers can fix it. So whatever you are going through, take it NOW to the Lord in prayer and watch and see God fix it. Today I declare that, it’s DONE.