Join Jane and Mary as they discuss the people God used in the miraculous story of Jesus’ birth. What’s so interesting is that God uses everyday people to bring about His plans in the world–and He wants to use us too! [Read more…]
“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Luke 2:36-38
These short three verses in the Bible hold out much hope for us. Here is a woman who was married for only seven years when her husband died. Rather than living in misery and despondency, Anna chose instead to live a life to glorify God. She walked so closely with God that when Mary and Joseph arrived in the temple to present the baby Jesus, Anna recognized Jesus as the redemption of Jerusalem. She had the privilege of looking upon the Savior and knowing Him.
During this time of Advent, take some time to reflect on a disappointment or life change you may have suffered. How are you handling this? Are you allowing God to use this in your life, or have you become bitter over it? Pray and ask Him to open your spiritual eyes, as He did Anna’s and look for ways that God can use this disappointment for good.
Prayer: Dear Lord,
We pray for the spiritual eyes to see how you can use our disappointments, life changes and even tragedies to bring about good. Help us to trust you to bring a blessing out of them, and make us wiling to be used. Amen.
“And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.’” Luke 1:41-45 NKJV
Let’s look today at Elizabeth’s place in preparing our hearts for Christmas. It was particularly hard on a woman to be barren in the Jewish culture. You see, the Jews considered children to be a sign of God’s favor on a couple and His displeasure if you could not have children. We know that God was not displeased with Zecharias and Elizabeth because God tells us in Luke 1:6 that both Elizabeth and her husband Zacharias were righteous, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But Elizabeth’s contemporaries did not have the benefit of the scripture.
She probably suffered for years over their inability to have children. I wonder how many sideways glances or snide comments she had to endure.
Yet, God had a very special plan in mind for this couple. But it had to be the right timing. Elizabeth remained faithful through all those difficult years without knowing that she would bear a son who would prepare the hearts of the people for the Messiah. What an honor she had!
Let this encourage us when we feel that we are tired of waiting for what we are praying for. Keep lifting up that wayward child in prayer. Keep praying for that long awaited child. Keep asking the Lord for healing. Keep seeking God for a new job. What unanswered prayer have you lost hope for? Be open to God’s timing and how He wants to work in your life. Is there something bigger at stake God is trying to show you? Is He trying to change more than what you’re praying for? Maybe something at the very core of you? Let Him do His work in your life and remember that some prayers take a lifetime to birth! Some we may see right away, and others maybe not this side of heaven. But don’t give up!
Prayer: Dear Lord,
We pray for the perseverance to be faithful to You no matter what our circumstances may look like. Help us to remember that your timing preempts our timing. May we keep praying, keep believing, keep loving. Amen.
Christmas is the perfect time to do something nice for someone else. Jesus set the example for us to do this as He came to earth to give us the ultimate gift of salvation. We’d like to celebrate this at Only By Prayer by having a Christmas contest. To enter the contest, you need to do something nice for another person; if you’d like, it can even be done anonymously. Then enter a comment on the blog and mention what it was you did.
We’ll draw a name at the end of December from all the comments to win a prize. Put some thought into what you do. Think about what would really bless the person you are going to help. Could they use a home-cooked meal? Does someone need a handwritten letter of encouragement? Could you anonymously do a chore for someone? Be creative and thoughtful and have fun!