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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem. - Luke 2:36-38

We are busy. We have lives that we fill with lots of things to get done. Most seem very important to us and many of those things probably are important to do. I think we might look at Anna and all of her "worshiping with fasting and prayer" as not a good use of her time. So many years of fasting, worshiping, praying, seeking God. Couldn't she have done something more important with her life?

And yet, she is an integral part of God's mission through Christ Jesus, an integral part of the redemption of Jerusalem and the Israelites through Christ. Her inclusion in Scripture forces us to acknowledge her and her devotion through her worship with fasting and prayer. She would be so insignificant to us in our world today; she would be most likely invisible to us.

As we fast, let's not look to what it will get us or how significant our fast will be. Let's look at Anna, the prophetess, and be patient in our fasting. Can we learn to wait on the Lord as we fast? Can we take our hungering for food and for God, and not try to do something with it or get something from it but use it to patiently sit at the feet of our Lord? Forty days seems so long to us and yet Anna did it for years and waited in patience and trust in the Lord for His will to be done. May we develop this type of counter-cultural patience as we fast and seek our Lord.

As Anna did so long ago, let us worship our God in our fasting, and be patient as we seek His will to be done, the advancement of the kingdom today. It may be the most significant thing we do.

Kevin Collins
Ministry Director at Dartmouth