Please help us share God's truths and hope in Christ.

Although both Simeon and Anna (Luke 2) are often overlooked in the nativity narrative, they are both very significant.  Each had an important role in establishing Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God.

Remembering Anna

When my grandson was born, I designated four of my closest sisters-in-Christ as “Anna” for him.  Their only “commission” was to pray for him, just as Anna was a great prayer warrior.

Very little is told about Anna in the Bible, but let’s look at what is said and what we can learn from this godly woman.  

Luke 2:36-38  And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity, And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.  And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Who Was Anna?

  1. Anna was a prophetess — the only one named in the New Testament.
  2. She was the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher – a tribe whose name means “happy.” (Gen 30:13)
  3. She was very old—84 years old. (Although some suggest she was widowed for 84 years and therefore over 100 years old, most consider the Bible to be recording her age at the time of Jesus’ dedication in the Temple.)
  4. She was a widow – unencumbered by family responsibilities.
  5. She prayed day and night in the Temple, demonstrating perseverance in seeking God and the faith that He hears and answers.
  6. She fasted, knowing from Israel’s history that fasting brings results. e.g., Moses’s fasting for 40 days on Mt. Sinai (Deut 9:9), Esther’s three-day fast before she approached Xerxes (Est. 4:15-16), Daniel’s and his three friends’ fasted from King Nebuchadnezzar’s table (Dan. 1:12), and there are many more examples.

This saintly old woman, this prayer warrior of Temple renown, longed for the Messiah.  And when she had heard the words of Simeon proclaiming the baby he held, Jesus, to be the Promised One,  to be “A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:32), she thanked God and spoke about the child to all who were present — all who were looking for redemption in Jerusalem.

Witnesses to Jesus’ Dedication

Deuteronomy 19:15 stresses the importance of having two witnesses to validate an event, and Simeon and Anna both bore witness to who Jesus was and His dedication to God.  Luke was meticulous with detail in his Gospel account, and here we see both a male and a female bearing witness that Israel was the recipient of the blessings of salvation and that God had answered their prayers for redemption, which began with the Christmas cradle and would culminate in the Calvary cross.

Lessons from Anna

Anna reminds us that prayer is powerful. God graciously speaks to us through His word. And by His Spirit, He moves our hearts, minds, and souls and directs us in His will and ways. It’s often been said that if you want to hear the audible voice of God, read the Bible out loud.  So through the Bible, God talks to us; through prayer, we can talk to our heavenly Father.

Therefore, start and end every day with prayer and speak to Him continually throughout the day. Talk to God, just as Anna did.  And persevere in faith, living in the joy of your salvation.  Remember, the Lord numbers our days (Ps 37:18). But also know, we can make them count.

Let Us Strive to Be Like Simeon and Anna

Simeon knew and trusted in the Word of God.  Anna was in close communion with God, praying continually. Both faithfully waited.  And both were used by God.

Do you want God to use you?  Then make yourself useful by learning of God, faithfully waiting, and allowing the Spirit to conform you to the image of Jesus by working in and through you.  How can you do that?

1. ESTABLISH YOUR HEART IN GRACE   It is good that the heart be established by grace Hebrews 13:9
2. ANCHOR YOUR SOUL IN HOPE  This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast. Hebrews 6:19
3. RENEW YOUR MIND IN THE WORD  Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

An Evening Prayer from J.R. Miller (1840 – 1912), “Family Prayers”

Heavenly Father, the day is gone, and we cannot recall it to amend its doings, to correct its mistakes, to blot out its sins, to undo the things we ought not to have done, to do the things we ought to have done, but left undone, to unsay the words we ought not to have said, to speak the words we ought to have spoken.

The day is gone from us — and is with You. We leave it in Your hands. Whatever we have done that was not according to Your will — may You graciously forgive. The things that pleased You — may You bless.

Our disappointments, we accept as Your appointments for us — better than our way would have been. Teach us the lessons You would have us learn from the day’s experiences.

May we be wiser for having lived through these experiences, and may our faith be stronger, our love be deeper, and our earnestness and zeal be more intense.

May we nestle in Your love
as little children nestle in the mother’s bosom, and may we hide in You as in an everlasting rock so that our peace may never be disturbed, even in the wildest storms of earth.

Enfold us all now in Your everlasting arms, and may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be upon us. Amen.


Read also: Who’s Often Forgotten in the Birth of Jesus Story?   
Why is Simeon Significant in the Nativity Narrative?


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There is much to be learned from those who have gone before us in the faith.  Check out our Cloud of Witnesses category that features the words of departed saints who are now with the Lord in glory.  Their words equip and encourage us even to this day.  Take a few minutes to hear...

  1. ONLY ONE LIFE, Twill Soon Be Past – by C.T. Studd (1860 – 1931)
  2. “The Love of God is Greater Far” by Frederick M. Lehman (1917)
  3. Prayers from Billy Graham
  4. Who Was Robert Robinson? What’s the Story Behind “Come Thou Fount”
  5. “Immanuel” — A Poem by Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)
  6. Who Am I? A Poem by Deitrich Bonhoeffer (1905-1945)
  7. Understanding the Everlasting Arms of God, by J.R. Miller (1840–1912)
  8. 24 Reasons Why I Love America, by John Wayne (1907-1979)
  9. Give Me Perpetual Broken-heartedness (from The Valley of Vision)
  10. Abide with Me, by James Smith, 1859

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