Anna: Fasting for the First Coming of the King (Fasting Edition #171)


Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from an Unknown Author. He said: “Fasting is a way to demonstrate to God, and to yourself, that you are serious about your relationship with Him. Fasting helps you to gain a new perspective and a renewed reliance upon God.”

Our fasting devotional today is titled “ANNA: FASTING FOR THE FIRST COMING OF THE KING” from John Piper, author of the bestselling book “A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer”.

In calling for the church to fast for the coming King, we are not asking for something new. Luke 2:36–38 shows us an old woman who gave almost her whole life to this sacred ministry before the King came the first time.

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. And at that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Mary and Joseph had just brought the infant Jesus into the temple. Luke tells us about two very old people, Simeon and Anna, who recognize who the baby is. What marks both of these people is that they were yearning and longing for the coming of the Messiah. In verse 25 it says that Simeon was “looking for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him.” Jesus, the Messiah, is the consolation of Israel.

In verse 37 it says that Anna virtually never left the temple and was serving the Lord “with fastings and prayers.” In other words, she was like Simeon—she was longing for the Messiah to come; she was fasting and praying night and day because she was looking for “the redemption of Jerusalem.”

In verse 38 she comes at just the right moment to see the Messiah-child, and she gives thanks to God and speaks of him to all who were “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” In other words God gave a special glimpse of the King’s glory to those who were yearning and longing and looking for “the redemption of Jerusalem.” For Anna that meant a life of fasting decade after decade—probably 60 years since her husband died—as she ministered in the temple.

I think one of the reasons Luke tells us about Simeon and Anna is to illustrate how holy and devout people respond to the promise of Christ’s coming. And how God responds to their longings. They see more than others see. They may not understand fully all the details about how the Messiah is coming—Simeon and Anna surely didn’t—but God mercifully gives them a glimpse before they die, of what they so passionately wanted to see.


Jesus in Gethsemane is Our Example of How We Ought Pray, Part 1 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #203)

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Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is Psalm 143:1 which reads: “Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.”

Our prayer motivator quote today is from R.A. Torrey. He said: “Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is part 1 of a new series titled “JESUS IN GETHSEMANE IS OUR EXAMPLE OF HOW WE OUGHT TO PRAY” from Dr. John R. Rice.

This most striking example of the Saviour’s surrender to the will of the Father is when He was bowed down in the Garden of Gethsemane under the weight of the sins of the world, when His soul was “exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,” He said in Matthew 26:38, and when “his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” There Jesus prayed in Matthew 26:29, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

Then again He prayed in Matthew 26:42, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”

Then a third time we are told He prayed, “saying the same words.” Facing the most awful suffering, without hesitation, Jesus said to His Father and our Father, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

But this scriptural incident has been greatly misunderstood. Many have taught that here the Lord Jesus was begging the Father that He might not have to go to the cross, and only reluctantly submitted to the thing He did not want to do, and tried to avoid. Some commentators have supposed that Jesus thought there might be some other way to save sinners besides the cross.

But all this seems foolish in the light of other Scriptures.

+ Plus, listen to Tobymac singing “City On Our Knees”

Is it God’s Will to Heal Every Time?, Part 3 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #174)

MP3 Download Link: The Prayer Motivator Devotional Broadcast #174

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is James 5:16 which reads: “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Our prayer motivator quote today is from Andrew A. Bonar. He said: “Oh brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper–and sleep too–than not pray. And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest. The Lord is near. He comes softly while the virgins slumber.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is the third and final part of our series titled Is It God’s Will to Heal Every Time? from Dr. John R. Rice. Dr. Rice said…

My mother died when she was about 28 years old. On her deathbed she made us promise to meet her in Heaven; had us sing “How Firm a Foundation, Ye Saints of the Lord,” and looking up, declared that she saw Jesus and her baby. And so, literally filled with the Spirit and rejoicing, she went home to Heaven. Was her sickness God’s will? I, who have missed her so much for over 70 years, feel certain that it was.

And every divine healer who teaches that it is God’s will that every Christian should have perfect health, sooner or later finds that sickness comes upon him, and sometimes with it the breakdown of all his faith, and even insanity. And the sickness eventually results in death even for the most spiritually-minded, the best Christians, those who claim sinless perfection and those who claim perfect health from God alike. “It is appointed unto man once to die,” and death proves that no man has yet lived (save Enoch and Elijah, who never died) who has attained either perfect health or perfect righteousness this side of the grave.

So, although Christ “Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses,” and though Christ’s death on the cross did surely guarantee for all who are born again by faith that one day our bodies as well as our natures will have perfect redemption, we do not yet possess all that is bought for us. Healing of the body may not instantly be claimed in every case, as forgiveness of sins may be instantly received always by penitent faith. We are told in Romans 8:18-23 that perfect healing, along with the resurrection of our glorified bodies, is in the atonement made by Christ. But that “adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body,” certainly is now wholly ours until Jesus comes.

+ Plus, listen to CeCe Winans singing “Anybody Wanna Pray?”

Is it God’s Will to Heal Every Time?, Part 2 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #172)

MP3 Download Link: The Prayer Motivator Devotional Broadcast #172

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is James 5:13 which reads: “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”

Our prayer motivator quote today is from George Mueller. He said: “It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is part 2 of our series titled “IS IT GOD’S WILL TO HEAL EVERY TIME?” from Dr. John R. Rice. Dr. Rice said…

Certainly it is not always God’s will to heal. When God promised in Romans 8:28 that “all things work together for good to them that love God,” He included sickness in His “all things.”

How much blessedness has come because of the sufferings of Christians! Stephen was martyred. If his bones could honor the Lord in being broken, could not ours, sometimes? If Timothy’s weak stomach was not healed but needed careful moderation and use of fruit juice, why may not Christians today sometimes have weak stomachs to the glory of God? If Job suffered, if Paul suffered, if Timothy had often infirmities, if Trophimus and Epaphroditus could be sick to the glory of God, then sometimes that may be true of you too. It was for the glory of God that Lazarus was sick and died. Then it was to God’s glory that he should be raised from the dead. But it was not to the glory of God for Lazarus to stay well, so again he died, as does everybody else, no matter how good he may be. Even King David said in Psalm 119:71, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”

Read the story of David Brainerd, the man of prayer, and see how earnest his prayer life, how strong his faith, how marvelous the answers God gave to his prayers, and then explain how he died of tuberculosis before he was thirty, perfectly content to go, assured that it was God’s perfect will for him, the best promotion he could have! Sickness, like all the other things that follow a sinful race, can be used of God for His glory and for our preparation for His service and for Heaven.

+ Plus, listen to Deitrick Haddon singing “Prayer Changes Things”

Should We Claim Complete Healing Based on the Atonement of Jesus Christ?, Part 3 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #171)

MP3 Download Link: The Prayer Motivator Devotional Broadcast #171

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is Hebrews 4:6 which reads: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Our prayer motivator quote today is from S.D. Gordon. He said: “Prayer does not influence God. Prayer surely does influence God. It does not influence His purpose. It does influence His action.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is the third and final part of our series titled “SHOULD WE CLAIM COMPLETE HEALING BASED ON THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST?” from Dr. John R. Rice. Dr. Rice said…

When one trusts in Christ for salvation, he is forgiven and saved, without any further struggle or seeking or agonizing. That is, he has the Holy Spirit come in to regenerate him and make him a child of God and the same Holy Spirit abides in his body as the firstfruits of salvation. The completion of his salvation will come when Jesus comes and when the resurrection of the Christian dead takes place, and the bodies of living saints are changed, in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye. Then, we will have “the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

Freedom from all sin was purchased for us at Calvary, too. Absolute sinless perfection is in the atonement. But none of us has yet attained it. I John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” But when Jesus comes, the sin question will be settled once and for all. Now we have forgiveness of sins. Then we will have complete eradication of sin. We have the firstfruits of salvation, but when Jesus comes, we get the completed salvation. So now we live in hope for that which we have not yet attained, the Scripture says, and we groan within ourselves, “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our bodies.”

Then it is true that bodily healing is in the atonement, in the same sense that our resurrected bodies are provided for in the atonement. Christ Himself rose from the dead, and all of us who are His will likewise be raised from the dead by the same Spirit. And then, in our resurrected bodies, we will have received the adoption and redemption that is provided on Calvary. And then we will be done with all sin and will be perfect like Christ.

+ Plus, listen to Fred Hammond singing “I Feel Good”

Should We Claim Complete Healing Based on the Atonement of Jesus Christ?, Part 2 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #170)

MP3 Download Link: The Prayer Motivator Devotional Broadcast #170

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is James 1:6-7 which reads: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”

Our prayer motivator quote today is from Watchman Nee. He said: “Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is part 2 of our series titled “SHOULD WE CLAIM COMPLETE HEALING BASED ON THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST?” from Dr. John R. Rice. Dr. Rice said…

At the second coming of Christ, at the resurrection of the Christian dead, when our bodies are changed like unto Christ’s glorious body, then we will inherit all that was bought for us on Calvary, but not before. Then we will have perfect health, perfect bodies, with all the mark and stain of sin gone, but not before. Then Christians will not wear glasses or walk with canes, nor be bald-headed, nor have dandruff, nor have halitosis, nor athlete’s foot! These things are bought for us on Calvary, and are to be delivered when our salvation is complete. But no one will have perfect and permanent healing of all disease till then.

I think we may safely say that all the people who were ever healed were only partly healed, except Enoch and Elijah who were translated and given glorified bodies at once. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, but Lazarus died again. The “perfect soundness” of the poor lame man healed at the gate of the Temple, mentioned in Acts 3:16, was only a relative soundness. By human standards he was perfectly well, but by the standards of the angels who know no sickness nor disease, who never are tired or weak or sick, and who never die, his body was still imperfect and subject to the weight and wages of sin.

People who think they are perfect still have the decay and weakening going on in their bodies that will lead them to death, sooner or later, unless the Savior comes speedily. There is susceptibility to disease and a tendency toward death in every living human being. So in some sense, healing, in this present age, is always relative. No living person has perfect health as the angels have, as Adam had in the Garden of Eden before he sinned. And that perfect health will be ours only when Jesus comes and changes our vile bodies like unto His glorious body.

That is a plain statement of the Scriptures. Romans 8:18-23 says:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Here we learn that our salvation is largely in the future. We already have everlasting life and the Holy Spirit has been given to us. He, the Holy Spirit, is “the firstfruits” of salvation; but we are still waiting “for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” The redemption or salvation of the body was purchased on Calvary. Christ really did bear our infirmities and our sicknesses there. In that sense perfect healing is in the atonement, but it is a part of the same salvation which we get when we trust Christ. It is not a separate matter.

+ Plus, listen to Daniel White Jr. singing “Prayer”

Should We Claim Complete Healing Based on the Atonement of Jesus Christ?, Part 1 (The Prayer Motivator Devotional #169)

MP3 Download Link: The Prayer Motivator Devotional Broadcast #169

Our prayer motivator verse from the Word of God today is I Timothy 2:8 which reads: “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

Our prayer motivator quote today is from Mary Warburton Booth. He said: “Depend upon it, if you are bent on prayer, the devil will not leave you alone. He will molest you, tantalize you, block you, and will surely find some hindrances, big or little or both. And we sometimes fail because we are ignorant of his devices…I do not think he minds our praying about things if we leave it at that. What he minds, and opposes steadily, is the prayer that prays on until it is prayed through, assured of the answer.”

Our prayer motivator devotional today is part 1 of a new series titled “SHOULD WE CLAIM COMPLETE HEALING BASED ON THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST?” from Dr. John R. Rice. Dr. Rice said…

There has been much loose talk over the question of whether or not Christ purchased redemption and healing for our bodies in His death on the cross. And I am sorry to say that much of this loose talk has been done by otherwise sound, Christian men who were irritated with the Pentecostalists and others who claim that healing is in the atonement and that therefore every Christian ought at once to claim perfect healing on the basis of the atonement just as he takes salvation by faith all at once.

In Matthew 8:16,17 is a clear Scripture on this question: “When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.”

You might know that these verses include a reference to Isaiah 53:4, which says, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.” It is remarkable that the New Testament translation, as given by the Holy Spirit, is even more emphatic than the Old Testament promise, that Christ carried our infirmities and our sicknesses. In the American Revised Version, Matthew 8:17 says of Jesus, “Himself took our infirmities and bare our diseases.” And we remember that Isaiah 53:5 says, “And with his stripes we are healed.”

It is foolish to fight the plain teaching of these verses. Jesus Himself took our infirmities and bare our diseases. Dr. R.A. Torrey spoke of the saying that “physical healing is in the atonement” in his book, Divine Healing. He said, “I think that that is a fair inference from these verses when looked at in this context.” And as the beloved S.D. Gordon, author of the “Quiet Talks” series of books, said, surely, every good thing we have comes, not as a result of our own merits but as a result of the merits of Jesus Christ, and is paid for on the cross. If a Christian comes to pray for healing in Jesus’ name, he is praying properly. Surely it is not too much to say that every good thing God ever gives was purchased by Jesus Christ.

But Dr. Torrey hastened, as I do, to call attention to the fact that we do not now receive all that is purchased for us. It is wonderful to be saved, and to have our sins forgiven, but every Christian ought to know that is only a part of his inheritance — there is more coming later!

+ Plus, listen to Hillsong singing “Our Father”