Awareness and Spiritual Practice


Luke 2:36–38 (NIV)

There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.


Simeon is referred to as a righteous and devout man, who had eagerly awaited the messianic fulfillment. He lays eyes upon Jesus and proceeds to praise the God who sent him and to speak words of encouragement to Mary and Joseph. Anna was no doubt righteous and devout as well, but she is specifically referred to as a prophet. Seeing Jesus puts her directly into preaching mode. She does pause to give praise where praise is due, but spreading the good news to anyone who would listen seems to be her most urgent priority.

While acknowledging the difference in self-expression, I suspect that it was a set of shared attributes that opened both sets of eyes to the same reality. In Simeon and Anna, we have two individuals whose lives were permeated by spiritual practice. Calling Simeon “righteous and devout” certainly implies a life of discipline and devotion. With Anna, the description is more explicit. In a span of three verses, we are told that she is devoted to prayer, fasting, and chastity. She recognized Jesus and proclaimed it to the masses because she was a prophet.

But to what do we attribute her prophetic gifting? Did it have anything to do with her holy lifestyle? I suggest that praise and prophetic speech flow as a result of revelation. Anna’s ascetic lifestyle heightened her spiritual senses, which allowed her to receive revelation. The revelation itself served as a catalyst for prophetic speech. So maybe God doesn’t only speak to prophets. Maybe prophets are prophets, not because God exclusively speaks to them, but because they choose to listen to what God is, in fact, saying to everyone.


Spirit of the living God, challenge us in our apathy and forge us into a community of prophets.


Are prayer and fasting a significant part of your devotional life? Do you sense these disciplines as channels of grace and revelation or as compulsory obligations?

For the Awakening,
Josh LeRoy

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

3 Responses

  1. I understand that prophecy is neither something gained by anything we can do to achieve it, nor is it available to those who seek it as a means for self-glorification. I do believe that a life of prayer, scripture study, along with meditation and self denial will aid in our growth of spiritual awareness. I understand that Prophecy it self is a Spiritual gift that the Spirit distributes at His choosing. A true prophet is not a life calling that one would choose for themselves. They’ll make many more enemies than friends if they speak prophetically to this current generation.

  2. Getting Biblical About Spiritual Practice:

    I woke up this morning with various Scriptures about spiritual practice running through my mind. I immediately went to my blog, “Free Gas For Your Think Tank,” and wrote a post about Bible based spiritual practices. Then I came to Wake-Up Call and saw today’s post and once again was amazed by the connection.

    Here’s the post I just wrote:

    The Bible never says that Christians should listen to a weekly sermon. Religious tradition does. I’m nostalgic for the following things that the Bible says that Christians should do:

    Be Spirit-led. (Romans 8:14.)
    Gather together. (Hebrews 10:25.)
    Pray together. (Acts 1:14.)
    Hear Jesus’ voice. (John 10:27.)
    Testify about what Jesus has done and is doing. (Revelation 12:11 and Acts 1:8.)
    Minister to one another. (1 Peter 4:10.)
    Take turns speaking when they gather. (I Corinthians 14:26.)
    Let each other prophesy. (1 Corinthians 14.31.)
    Teach one another. (Colossians 3:16.)
    Encourage one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:11.)
    Exhort one another. (Hebrews 3:13.)
    Confess their sins to one another. (James 5:16.)
    Make disciples. (Matthew 28:19.)
    Continually read, ponder, and obey God’s written word. (Joshua 1:8.)
    Read the Bible together. (Colossians 4:16.)
    Worship in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24.)
    Humble themselves. (1 Peter 5:6.)
    Love one another. (John 13:34.)

    (After reading today’s Wake-Up Call, I added the following to my blog.) These things flow from supernatural revelation, not from human abilities. Spiritual revelation will be cultivated in a humble heart that is ever hungry for more of Christ and His real presence. A human heart can never be satisfied while it’s full of inner emptiness. Seek the Lord and frequently open up and connect heart-to-heart with others who are doing so.

    I love your words, Josh: “Maybe prophets are prophets, not because God exclusively speaks to them, but because they choose to listen to what God is, in fact, saying to everyone.”

  3. How do we know if someone is a prophet? If their prophecy is accurate. When do we believe their words will become true? It’s after the fact.
    A prophecy is a prophecy after it becomes reality.
    God’s Word warns us to be aware of the false prophets.

    Matthew 7:15
    “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

    Biblically, God used prophets for His glory, His Word, His warnings, and the birth, life, death, and life of His Son, Jesus. His victory over evil!
    Then Jesus’ prophecy promise of eternal life became the prophecy of all prophecies.

    John 3:16
    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

    The John 3:16 prophecy is already a reality when we believe in Jesus, the Master Prophet.

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, stay strong in the Lord and His mighty power.

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