The Prophetess Anna
The widow, Anna, as far as anyone knew, was always in the temple. Maybe, she even slept in one of its many rooms. Her devotion to God was known to all who worshipped God at the temple in Jerusalem. Any time of the day or night anyone entered the temple, she would be seen in prayer.

She fasted often—due, perhaps, as much to her poverty as her piety. She had placed her trust in God and depended completely on his provision. She believed God’s promise written in Psalm 146:9: “The Lord…sustains the fatherless and the widow….”

Instead of becoming bitter at her circumstances of being widowed at a young age, she chose to worship God and encourage others. As a result of her total dedication to seeking God through prayer and fasting, he gave her wisdom and insight to pass on to other worshippers. She became known as the prophetess Anna.

When she was very old, at least 84 years *, she heard Simeon, “who was righteous and devout”, bless the infant Jesus. Joseph and Mary had brought their son who was now about seven weeks old to offer the sacrifices required for his consecration as a firstborn.

Like Simeon, Anna gave thanks to God for allowing her to see the Messiah. From that time forward she “spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”

*Many girls of this time period were married at the age of fifteen. If Anna had been married at fifteen and then widowed seven years later; and if the text meant she had been a widow for 84 years (an alternate translation), then Anna would have been about 106 years old—now that is “very old.”

References: Luke 2:23-38; New International Version Zondervan Study Notes; Leviticus 12:1-8; Exodus 13;2, 12-15 

For the Scripture References and related Bible Study Guide, go to Bible Study Guide: The Prophetess Anna,  Devote Yourselves to Prayer

Scarlett Stough