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About the Author
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The Anna Anointing
By Michelle McClain-Walters
Charisma House Book GroupCopyright © 2017 Michelle McClain-Walters
All rights reserved.
LIFE AFTER LOSS
And there was Anna a prophetess, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. And she was a widow of about eighty-four years of age who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayer night and day.
— Luke 2:36-37
Anna was a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. The significance of Anna's lineage plays a key role in the power of her story. The women from the tribe of Asher were apparently so beautiful that men from all the tribes of Israel wanted to marry them. Men of the highest stature, such as the high priests, sought their wives among the daughters of Asher.
Asher's daughters were also known as being "lovely and refined, which made them most appealing to the family of priests. These women would best understand and support the priest's work, since they mirrored the core nature of his responsibilities." One commentary states that the priest "looked for a wife who would understand the nature of his work, and he found the best candidates amongst the daughters of Asher. Their exquisite modesty demonstrated an internal commitment to spirit over flesh."
Anna was raised in the Jewish tradition and was taught about the one true God. Anna was groomed her entire life to love the things of the spirit over the things of the flesh. She probably got married around the age of thirteen, when most Jewish girls of that time period got married. I can just picture her as a thirteen-year-old young woman on her wedding day, standing at the altar, full of hopes and dreams about the future. Although there is not anything written about the vocation of her husband, we can speculate that he was a man of great stature. So Anna and her husband ride off into the sunset and live in marital bliss for seven years.
Then came that dreaded moment that changed everything: Anna's husband died. In an instant she went from being a wife to being a widow. Her dreams of being a mother were suddenly taken away by one unforeseeable event.
Much of what we know about Anna is by implication and not direct knowledge. I can only imagine the questions, the grief, and the fear that flooded her heart and mind: "Why me, Lord? Why this? I did everything right! What now? How am I going to survive this?"
What do you do when life throws you a tragic curveball? How do you pick up the shattered pieces of your life when the one thing you've prepared for and dreamed about suddenly slips through your fingers as wind-driven sand? How do you recover when your vision is clouded by pain and your life plunges into despondency and despair? What do you do when a lifelong dream is suddenly taken away from you without warning and through no fault of your own?
As women we all have faced some type of crisis, whether it's a failed marriage, children on drugs, breast cancer or other illness, loss of a job, wrong choices, or as in Anna's case, the sudden death of a husband. Crisis can be defined as "a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point; a dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person's life" that leads to a "decisive change." The way to overcome every unforeseen crisis is found in the One who is the overcomer: Jesus. Jesus tells us in John 16:33, "In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." This scripture speaks to the providential care of the Lord. Providence comes from two Latin words: pro, which means "before," and video, which means 'to see." You can have confidence in Jesus's ability to see what is ahead in your life and arrange provision and power to overcome.
How do you access this overcoming power? My one answer is hope. I'm not referring to wishful thinking. I believe hope is a person, and His name is Jesus. Jesus is hope. He provides hope. Hope is an expectation and confidence to see God's goodness in life's difficult situations. Hope is the anchor of your soul when life is hard to navigate.
When the storms and tribulations of life come crashing in upon you, you can be anchored in Christ and His promise to cause all things to work together for your good. Romans 8:28 says, "We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." The word know means "to see; to perceive, notice, discern, discover; understand." I believe Anna's perception and understanding, based on her personal experience with God, prepared her to walk through this hardship. She had already discovered that God was working things together for her good.
God has promised to release His power and wisdom to overcome difficult and seemingly hopeless seasons in your life. Taking hold of this promise from God creates confidence and perseverance instead of anxiety and fear of the future. When you have a purpose and destiny in God, you can be assured that God will cause trauma, tragedies, and disappointments to work together for your good. I am not saying that God causes these traumatic things to happen, but He will use them to get the best out of your life.
God is very intentional about your growth. The correct response to crisis produces perseverance, character, and hope! You must know that surely there is a hope and your future will not be cut off! You will survive.
Finding Hope in the Face of God
Anna allowed the one true God to turn her crisis into an opportunity for growth and grace. Scripture states that she was the daughter of Phanuel. Jewish parents believed that the name of a child was instrumental in forming his or her identity. They believed that the nature, character, and destiny of children should be proclaimed in their names. Anna means "grace" and her father's name, Phanuel, means "vision of God" or "face of God." Prophetically speaking, a modern-day Anna will seek the face of God in prayer, finding grace to overcome personal and global crises. Anna demonstrated the power of biblical hope. Biblical hope looks away from man to the promises of God. She postured her life in prayer, looking confidently with expectation for great things from God.
If you fast-forward sixty-plus years after Anna's crisis, you find her living in the temple and serving God with fasting and prayer. She was the first woman in the New Testament to be called a prophetess and to proclaim the name of the Lord to all those who were looking for redemption. She redefined what it meant to be a widow. Instead of waiting for someone to have sympathy for her, she used her life to show compassion for the brokenhearted and those dealing with loss. Anna did the work of an evangelist.
You can see from Anna's life how the grace of God took her on a journey to literally see the face of God. What an honor it was to witness the Messiah coming to the temple. If you allow it, God will awaken destiny and purpose in your life and reveal opportunities to do extraordinary things for Him. As a woman with the Anna anointing, two things must be certain in your heart: God is never in crisis, and He is able to turn the misfortunes of your life into miracles. He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly in your life.
Unlikely Allies: Tribulation, Perseverance, Character, and Hope
We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
— Romans 5:3-5, NKJV
The ability to have faith in the goodness of God after you go through testing and trials doesn't happen overnight. I want to make it clear that there is a process. It really takes the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit to cultivate perseverance, character, and hope in the midst of crisis. God in His infinite wisdom allows these unlikely allies to connect in the war over the development of your soul. Healing and restoration are not an automatic result of trials. They occur as you respond rightly to God.
During these times the devil wants to fill your heart with sorrow, fear, and, in some cases, anger with God. However, it is the purpose of your Romans 5 allies to give you the capacity to walk in maturity. Often the Lord will not let you solve all of your problems because He wants you to rely on Him. Many times trials and testing will drive you straight into the presence of the Lord.
The devil will use trials to accuse God. The devil tells you that your trials are proof that God doesn't love you, you are a failure who is forgotten by God and destined to fail, and/or Christianity is not real. But you can be confident that God is working even when you cannot see or feel His work.
Anna's life is a perfect example of how trials are meant to lead us to realign our hearts, to resolve to live closer to the Lord, and to press in for the Spirit's breakthrough solution to our problems. Anna was widowed as a young woman in her twenties. She did not run from God but rather dedicated her life in service to Him. I believe cultivation of the three virtues of perseverance, character, and hope allowed Anna to be a consistent, steadfast intercessor who prayed relentless prayers that birthed Christ, the hope of glory, into the earth.
The right response to tragedy produces patience and perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. In Romans 12:12 Paul admonishes us to rejoice in hope, be patient or endure trials, and continue steadfast in prayer. The word endure in this verse comes from the Greek word hupomeno, which means "to hold one's ground in conflict, bear up against adversity, hold out under stress, stand firm, persevere under pressure, wait calmly and courageously. It is not passive resignation to fate and mere patience, but the active, energetic resistance to defeat that allows calm and brave endurance." Perseverance has its roots in confidence in God. It can be defined as "continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition." Perseverance is that small voice inside of you that says, "In the midst of my failure I will try again tomorrow." Perseverance lets you keep one foot in front of the other, one day at a time, one moment at a time.
Anna sets a remarkable example of perseverance. It appears that she never became bitter in the midst of her trial. She never lost hope in the promises of God. She believed that she would see the goodness of the Lord — not only for her life but also for the lives of others — for many years.
The time frame between Anna's loss and her encounter with infant Jesus was about sixty years. She consistently and relentlessly found herself in the temple serving the Lord. This speaks volumes to her character.
Anna's character was impeccable. Character has to do with the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. Moral character has to do with how you respond to a certain situation. Character is what comes out of you when extreme pressure is placed upon you. We can see from Scripture that Anna ran into the presence of God, not from His presence. It appears that she found strength and courage to persevere in faith in spite of her loss.
You might be saying in your heart, "Yes, that's good for Anna, but how can I overcome my situation?" I want to encourage you that everything starts with a decision. You must choose the way of the Lord. Turning to Him simply means focusing your attention on the promises in His Word and finding help in His presence.
God is raising up modern women who, resembling Anna, have walked through the fiery furnace and remained steadfast to the promises of God. God is enlisting His army of women who have persevered through many obstacles but still love Him with all of their hearts. These women are part of a special force with an assignment to pray until the glory of God covers the earth as the waters cover the sea.
I believe you are reading this book because you are called to be a modern-day Anna. You are armed with a resolve to obey the Lord no matter the cost. You are not afraid of the enemy or his tactics because you have seen the goodness of the Lord destroy the power of the enemy in your own life.
Just as Anna did, you must develop the art of waiting on the Lord. Scripture admonishes, "Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint" (Isa. 40:31). One of the major keys to developing character and displaying strength is waiting on the Lord. It is the key to victorious living. It is the key to displaying godly character. Waiting on the Lord involves serving, trusting, and expecting to see His goodness in your life.
We will explore the concept of waiting on the Lord more deeply in the next chapter. Now I want to talk to you about the final virtue I see in Anna's life: hope.
The Helmet of Hope
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted in me? Hope in God, for I will yet thank Him for the help of His presence. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermon, from the hill of Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me. Yet the Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song will be with me, a prayer to the God of my life.
— Psalm 42:5-8
Hope is an anointing that God likens to a helmet because it protects your mind (1 Thess. 5:8). It is also an anchor that causes your soul to be secure when waves of uncertainty hit your life (Heb. 6:19). Hope is the anchor for your soul, and it is rooted in the faithfulness of God. Another way to say this is that hope is a reservoir of strength for your mind, will, and emotions.
Hope is not wishful thinking — it is much more than that. The mind is Satan's battleground. Your emotions follow wherever your mind goes. Your thoughts, words, and emotions are deeply tied together. What you think and what comes out of your mouth greatly affect your emotional condition.
You can see from Psalm 42:5-8 that the soul can become very weary, confused, and filled with hopelessness. You must find hope in the face of God. You must be assured that in these times His face is toward you and that you are the object of His focus and loving care. He has promised to be with you both day and night.
You must be confident that God has a future and a hope for you. My favorite depiction of hope can be found in Hosea 2:15: 'Then I will give her vineyards from there, and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope and expectation [anticipating the time when I will restore My favor on her]. And she will sing there and respond as in the days of her youth" (AMP). This scripture describes hope as a doorway to the future.
I believe that Anna found a door of hope to her future in the place of prayer and worship. When developed properly, hope paints a picture of the future for all of us. We can avoid unnecessary anguish and anxiety by deciding to let go of wrong thinking about our problems. Sometimes we can be so preoccupied asking "Why, God?" and "When, God?" that we never develop our faith. Many times we are consumed with trying to figure out the answers to all of life's problems. We must learn to trust that if God does not do it our way, His way is better.
It is in times of uncertainty that you must trust the heart of God for you, even when you don't understand His hand in your life. The hand of God speaks to His strategic dealings and plans for your future. Anna set an excellent example of having confidence in the heart of the Lord in the midst of crisis.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." This promise was spoken to Israel in the midst of great devastation. God is admonishing His people to not let the devastating situation of life determine their level of expectation. Anna must have followed this principle throughout her life.
Life is a process, not an event. If you fail today, if things fall apart, you can begin again. No matter what, it is never too late to start doing and believing the right things. It is never too late for a new beginning in your life. You must let go of painful setbacks, mistakes, failures, and wrong decisions to embrace the hope of a bright future. This is the hour to not let the disappointments, setbacks, and losses of life define your future. You must look at your life with eyes of hope and adopt God's point of view. You must find hope in Christ.
Excerpted from The Anna Anointing by Michelle McClain-Walters. Copyright © 2017 Michelle McClain-Walters. Excerpted by permission of Charisma House Book Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Life After Loss 15
Chapter 2 Living a Life of Sacrifice 30
Chapter 3 The Prophetess 41
Chapter 4 The Watchman/Prophet 55
Chapter 5 Ministering to the Lord 68
Chapter 6 Ask, Seek, Knock 77
Chapter 7 Identification Intercession 86
Chapter 8 Developing the Spirit of Grace and Supplication 100
Chapter 9 The Worshipping Warrior 109
Chapter 10 God's Minister of Fire 118