Introductory Note:

This character profile of Anna from The Life with God Bible offers us a beautiful vision of a woman in her senior years radiating the goodness and power of with-God life. Enjoy the profile and the accompanying reflection questions as helpful reminders of the practical means by which we too can become a “dwelling place for God.”

Grace Pouch
Content Manager

Excerpt from Life with God Spiritual Formation Bible with Deuterocanonical Books (Leatherlike Cover)


Selected Scripture: Luke 2:21 – 40

She appears in only three verses of scripture, yet the glimpse we get into Anna’s life reveals a woman dedicated to living the with-God life. Spending all her time in God’s earthly dwelling place, the Temple, she herself became a dwelling place of God and late in her life helped welcome Immanuel Jesus, the babe who embodied the promise God with us.”

Anna, a prophet of the tribe of Asher, had married and lived with her husband seven years before becoming a widow. She never remarried, choosing instead to take up residence in the Temple. Luke tells us she worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day” (2:37). Her love for God and worship of him filled all her waking moments. When Mary and Joseph came to present Jesus, eighty-four year old Anna gave thanks to God and spoke to them about their miraculous baby, the promised Redeemer.

We may not identify with Anna’s call to prophecy or her living situation, yet her commitment to the Spiritual Disciplines of prayer, fasting, and worship — a life focused in mind, body, and activity on engaging with God — is a commitment we all can pursue. Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century monk, informs us in his writings that we can pray and worship both in times of focused quiet and spiritual activity and in times of work and routine daily life. Brother Lawrence served in the monastery’s kitchen, performing mundane work familiar to most of us, yet he developed a way of focusing on God’s presence throughout all of his days. In his timeless work Practicing the Presence of God, he reveals His focused perspective: Applying my mind to these thoughts in the morning and then spending the rest of the day, even in the midst of all my work, in the presence of God, I considered that he was always with me, that he was even within me.”

The disciplines of prayer, fasting, and worship are powerful tools that allow us to practice God’s presence through all the facets of our being, to live daily and hourly as a dwelling place of God. As Anna rejoiced at the coming of Jesus, our Immanuel, we too can experience the thrill of Jesus, God with us,” in increasing measure as we make prayer, fasting, and worship central in our lives.

Personal Reflection

  • How often during the course of a typical day are you attentive to God’s presence with you? Is your prayer limited to mealtimes and formal devotional times, or do you often turn to God in the activity of your day?

  • Have you tried fasting, either from food or from some other habitual activity in your life (television, radio, newspaper, e‑mail, Internet), in order to engage in greater worship of God? What kind of difference could, or does, the practice of fasting make in your life with God?

  • Choose the most mundane activity of your daily life and think of a way you could practice the presence of God while doing it.

Taken from The Life with God Bible. Copyright © 2009 by Harper Collins. Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI.

Photo by Mauricio Artieda on Unsplash

Text First Published May 2005 · Last Featured on October 2021