Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 27 Anna

Prayer is communion with God.  A beautiful expression of our love for Yeshua, our daily manna from Heaven, our hearts seeking closeness with the Maker of Heaven and Earth, prayer is communicating with our Father.  I desire to walk with the Lord and imagine my life as Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.” How else are we to get close to the Lord without talking, worshiping, praising, reading and listening? I believe we are called to pray, seek after the Lord, keep asking, knocking and looking for the door to be open (Matthew 7:7-8).
 In the Gospel of Luke, a prophetess is mentioned.  “There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.  She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.  Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:36-38).
 Vulnerable after the death of her husband with no where to turn, heart broken and torn Anna may have sought refuge in the House of God where she was accepted.  In 1 Timothy 5:3-16, the Apostle Paul writes a passage of scripture regarding widows.  “Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.  But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.  The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.”  I think this may give us a little insight to the situation Anna may have been faced with, but also her character. 
 Anna may have not had any family to take her in; no one to lean upon during a crisis in her life.  She was alone, in need and sought God for help.  Anna’s reputation of ‘…..being faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds’ may have encouraged those in the church to accept her with open arms (1 Timothy 5:9-10).  She obviously was not one who “lived for pleasure”, self centered and love less.  I believed Anna’s life reflected her character by her actions in the Temple.  While married, I am sure she was devoted to prayer, fasting and seeking the Lord.  Our Father made a way for her to live in the Temple, her reputation preceding her and was not only accepted, but I am sure appreciated by the Elders.
 Because of her devotion to the Lord; motives pure, selfless, humble and devoted to God’s Temple, he allowed her to prophesy of Jesus of Nazareth.  Anna, in her moment of trial, pain, mourning and loss ran to the House of God for comfort, safety and healing. Her heart pure, motives holy and gentle breaking of her alabaster jar daily in thanksgiving for God’s covering and grace, he mercifully protected with open arms and healing hands into her broken heart.  Anna was allowed to look upon God’s son, for a brief moment in time married once again for the bridegroom had come.  Heart overwhelmed with praise, Adonai allowed a woman to prophetically speak over his son.

 Prayer is beautiful.  I bring my own prayers to the Lord in thanksgiving, praise, worship and song, tearfully in pain, and desiring the best for my family.  I pray for those in ministry, those who spread the Gospel of Christ and those who tirelessly work for God.  I sing a worship song, hands lifted and thankful I have been saved by the Blood of the Lamb, a song of prayer.  I repeat my favorite Psalms throughout the day, giving praise to the King, a hymn of prayer.  I fall on my knees in devotion and reverential fear to the Lord, seeking his will and wisdom; a heartfelt prayer of servant hood.  I cry out to the Lord in desperate need of healing for my heart, the actions of someone who cut me deep and seeking the forgiveness needed whelms in my heart as tears stream down my face; a prayer of healing, love and the Christian walk.  I lift my hands, praising the Lord, dancing as David, laughing joyfully in excitement and breathtaking awe; a prayer of joy, adoration, and answered prayer.  Prayer is communication with God.
 The Lord Jesus of Nazareth said we should not be as the hypocrites, praying in the churches and out in public to be seen by men for their impure motives and showman, lackluster prayers.  Christ encourages us to go in to our rooms, close the door and pray to our Father who sees what is done in secret and already knows our needs. We are not to babble like the pagans, for in their minds, many words and repetitious prayers have little meaning and comfort their own hearts, not God’s (Matthew 6: 5-15).  We are to pray to the Lord, in reverential awe seeking his will and not our own.  We are to give thanks for what God has given us, already knowing our physical and spiritual needs.  We are to pray ask Christ to cleanse us from the inside out, healing our hearts, forgiving those who have scarred a part of us as we are forgiven by the Lord in a sacrificial prayer of thanksgiving.  We are to pray, armoring our bodies with the weapons of our warfare and scripture, Christ as our example, to fight the ‘ruler of the kingdom of the air” and the temptations the devil attempts to dismantle our minds with.  We are to pray, ‘your will be done’, not mine as our Christian walk is tested, purified and washed clean by the blood of Christ (Matthew 6:9-15).
 My heart’s desire is your church is alive with prayer.  Christ demanded his “Father’s House be a House of Prayer” as it should be (Isaiah, 56:7, Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17, Luke 19:46).  Praying for the Gospel to spread, praying for God’s will of the church’s direction, the salvation for unbelievers, to help those in need, the servant hood of the congregation and overcoming obstacles should be on the lips of all Christians in your church (John 17).  I believe as written in the letter of James, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16).  James encourages those to seek prayer and praise to those in the faith as he pens, “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.  Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up.  If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:13-15).
 I am inspired by those very words of prayer.  Christ said if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, it can move mountains; how much more if use that faith filled prayer for unbelievers (Matthew 17:20).  Prayer is power.  Praying with a faithful prayer warrior is amazing, for there is a spiritual connection that can not be broken.  My prayer warrior is Cathie.  I can call her anytime, day or night, requesting faithful mustard seed prayer and she is on it.  I feel comfortable, for God has given me her, to confess my thoughts and “sins” in confidence, prayerfully seeking another to help stand with me.  Just a note of caution, please beware of whom you speak in confidence and ask prayer from.  A trusted elder, pastor, deaconess, or friend (not many friends, but one close friend) you can share your heart with, are ones God can or will give you.  If you feel led to fast, then give God a breakfast, lunch or dinner with prayer and petitions.  I have had friends in prayer and fasting for months.  A friend of mine was in prayer and fasting for six months regarding her marriage.  After walking out on his family, this friend set out for God’s will.  She fasted her breakfast and lunch for six months; today, her husband is a preacher spreading the Gospel of Jesus of Nazareth.
 I have prayed and fasted for Tommy throughout these nine years.  When I felt the desire for change, the desire to be this noble wife, the desire for our marriage to grow and the desire for us to walk as the disciples in pairs, I prayed and fasted.  My fasting could have lasted a meal, a day or a week, not matter the length, the point was to give this prayer, this situation to the Lord.  Jesus spoke about prayer and fasting in the Gospel of Mark when confronted with disciples who could not heal a boy of an evil spirit, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29).  I believe there will be situation where seeking the will of God, desiring release from stronghold, renewing your mind and fast along side a friend or family member in need will arise some time during you walk with the Lord.  The fast is to remind us of our spiritual need; for when my belly would growl, I would pray all the more. 
 Throughout the Gospels, Jesus of Nazareth went alone to pray.  He would pray in lonely and desolate places, at times through the night when making decisions as with choosing the twelve disciples.  As beginning with this book, I pray you find yourself alone, listening for the Lord and giving him a heartfelt prayer.  If Christ is our example, how much more should we be in prayer.  Whether talking to the Lord about your day, whether a memory of someone springs forth and you pray for that person, whether singing a Psalm and giving thanks, or whether on your knees seeking healing, forgiveness or God’s will, prayer is essential for a close, deep relationship with the Lord.
 I have taught my children to pray.  I myself pray and ask the Lord to guide my prayers.  If a scripture comes to mind while in pray, I repeat, “It is written….” I have taught my children to do the same.  I strive to reflect Christ.  My goal is to memorize scripture so when confronted with a situation or someone asks me to pray for ___________, I am prepared with the Word of God.  I remember Isaiah 55:11, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” God’s words are POWERFUL! His words hold the keys to wisdom and knowledge, my words are empty.  His words created the earth and its foundations; my words have created sin and destruction. His words are life, bringing health and nourishment to the bones; my words have cause death to friendships, scars to family and erroneous memories.
 I encourage you in Day 29 the Proverbs 31 Woman to memorize a scripture a day.  By the end of the year, you would have 365 scriptures etched in your mind, ready to pray and confess the word of God.  Sing a Psalm, worship with hands and heart ready; lay your life down at the cross in prayer, be as Anna praying, fasting and worship continuously.  What do you think we will be doing in Heaven? Worshiping the Lamb!

Let us Pray and Confess the Word of God;

Abba Father,
I know the prayer of the upright you will hear, so Father bend your ear low and listen to my prayers (Proverbs 15:8).  My heart’s desire is to communicate with you (Psalm 20:4). Yeshua, I want to break my alabaster jar.  In prayer, I can bring all my requests to you, not with repetitious prayers, but with heart felt words.  I want to pray as you, alone in green pastures, by living waters and you restoring my soul.  You are my shepherd and I have all that I want (Psalm 23).  Give me your desires, your will as I continue to ask, seek and knock.   I desire to know you better, know your Word and have a relationship with you.  Increase my faith, my walk and my prayer life.  Help me to memorize scripture as I can reflect my Savior’s words with “It is written…”  I pray to confess the Word, for I know your Word has power, will never return void and will accomplish what you’ve set out to fulfill (Isaiah 55:11). I pray to diminish and you increase (John 3) for the more I abide in you, the less I will trust in myself.
 As it is written, I desire my own house to be a House of Prayer (Matthew, Isaiah).  Help me to set aside each day to pray, talk, worship, sing, rejoice, or cry out to the Comforter.  Whether through a Psalm, scripture, a song, everyday communication or fasting, I want to be close to you.  Help me to pray for my family, stand in the gap when a trusted friend asks and if I have gossiped and abused this confidence with others, forgive me Lord.  I choose to be a servant of Christ, a prayer warrior, prepared for the temptations, trials and triumphs that are sure to come my way.  May I pray for your church and the Gospel to continue its work. 
 As it is written, may I devote myself to prayer, being watchful and thankful; praying for our pastors to proclaim the message of Christ as clearly as they should (Colossians 4:1).  It is written to pray over the sick, to bless those who persecute and forgive those who have hurt (James 5:13-16, Matthew 5:38-48). Help me to come quickly to you when my heart is broken, to pray for those who deceived me and those who intentionally cause harm (Luke 6:28). By prayer and petition I will give thanks to you for the power to forgive trespasses as you have forgiven mine, for my daily provisions spiritually and physically and your kingdom be done on this earth, in my life from this day forth (Matthew 6) Help me to be continually in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17) for those who need of the Gospel and Christ as their Savior. My heart’s desire is my prayer life to not only focus on me, but your church, your Word and the spreading of the Gospel. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen

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