As Stan sat down across from me, I commented, “The other day you told me about your neighbor who has an antique shop [Note to reader: See the posting for January 6, 2023, “Being Like Anna”].
“That’t right,” Stan replied. “Anna. Did you go and take a look at what she has?”
“Not yet,” I said. “But I was looking in Luke’s gospel about the Anna he wrote about. I was impressed with how he described her.”
“In what way?” Stan asked.
“It says she was an older widow,” I replied, “who had spent most of her life in the temple. It says that she served night and day praying and fasting.”
“So?” Stan said.
“It makes me think that, compared to her, I really don’t spend much time praying.”
“Oh,” Stan replied, “I see what you mean. Probably most of us, maybe all of us, come up short when measured against Anna and her lifetime of praying. It can also make a person think about the purpose of praying.”
“The purpose of praying?”
“Yeah,” Stan replied, “I doubt that Anna spent all day, every day, praying for stuff she wanted God to give her.”
“What do you think she prayed about?”
“It seems to me,” he said, “that she probably knew better than most people that praying is about knowing God; it’s not about asking for stuff. Prayer is for us to find out what’s on God’s heart. Prayer is about spending each day with God getting to know Him better so He can and will make a difference in and through our lives.”
“Getting to know God better,” I commented. “Didn’t Jesus say something about that?”
“He did,” Stan replied. “Jesus said that eternal life is knowing Him and God the Father. It seems to me that praying with a heart open to whatever God has to show and tell me is the best way to do that.”
“And it should be more than just once in a while,” I said. “Right?”
“I think so,” Stan replied. “Like Anna, it’s to be each day until it adds up to a lifetime of prayer.”
Bible verses to consider:
And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with a husband seven years after her marriage, and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. And she never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. Luke 2:36-37.
Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him. Matthew 6:8
And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you allow me to come before you in prayer so you can show me what is on your heart. I confess that too often my prayers are self-focused, telling you what’s on my heart when you already know. Please forgive the foolishness of telling you what you already know when what you want is for me to know you. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I have a lifetime of prayer, day by day, devoted to knowing you. Please help me to make what’s on your heart the same thing that’s on my heart. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Do you pray in order to tell God things He already knows? In your prayers do you seek to find out what God has to say to you about what’s on His heart and mind or are you more focused on what’s on your’s? Do you really want to know what’s on God’s heart and mind? What does a “lifetime of prayer” look like to you? If you sense the need for change in your prayers and your praying, how is that going to happen? Do you want to draw closer to God through prayer? If you do, it can and will happen.