She had lived as a widow since then for eighty-four years. She never left the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day (Luke 2.37 NET)
One of the most successful fasters in the Bible was Anna the prophetess. She recognized Jesus when there was no reason to recognize Him! The Pharisees couldn’t recognize Him as a grown man casting out demons and raising the dead, but Anna recognized Him as a tiny baby, looking exactly the same as every other 8-day old baby brought to the temple to be circumcised!
She worshipped and fasted, but she had a third element that brought her a level of spiritual sensitivity – “she never left the temple”. The King James said “departed not”, the Greek word is aphistemi, it means to hold back, to desert, to give up on, to fall away from, to cool towards. For 84 years after the death of her husband, this woman kept going to the temple. She never held back on the temple, she gave, she invested, she ministered, she loved, she gave, she invested in the temple. She gave her heart and life to the community.
Today, we have to realize we cannot ever worship, fast and pray effectively on our own. No Christian can be the Lone Ranger. We need to make sure that as we seek the Lord, as we worship and fast, we need to focus on the community of the Lord, the body of Christ, the church itself.
We must not back off from church. We must not hold back on church. Go this weekend, be there and be on time, be in Living Church, be on a rota serving. If it’s good enough for a prophetess, it’s good enough for you! Let it be said of us in 84 years time we never left the temple. We never forsook the gathering and assembling of the church, we never gave up on, never held back from the church. I bet we would recognize Jesus a lot more – I reckon we would see His face more, realize His love more, hear His voice more.
During this fast, repent of holding back from church and get involved like never before. And watch how more sensitive to Jesus you become as you start to honour His body.