To Worship God

Series: Week of Prayer and Fasting | Week 1: Why We Pray and Fast

During this first week of 2024, we’re entering a time of prayer and fasting as a church. In Daily Bible Reading, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from a different campus pastor each day, guiding you through the various reasons why we fast and pray. Today, you’ll hear from Downtown Campus Pastor Kyle Riley. For more information on Prayer + Fasting Week, visit

Read Luke 2:36-38 in your personal Bible or at the link provided.


  1. What do we know about Anna's life based on verse 36?
  2. How did Anna worship God?
  3. What was Anna's response to witnessing the arrival of Jesus?


For many of us, praying and fasting are linked to seeing God move. We desire for Him to act or intervene in some way. This posture isn't incorrect, but it's partially incomplete. What if our primary motive for going to God was to humble ourselves before Him? What if we first sought to worship God for who He is before what He can do?

In Luke 2, we encounter a woman named Anna who did just that. We learn a lot about her in just a few short verses. She is a prophetess, older in age, Jewish, and has been widowed for a long time.

What's most admirable about her, though, isn't tied to her role, age, heritage, or marital status. It's the way she oriented her life around worship. Luke 2:37 says, “She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer."

What a description! As I read that, two words come to mind: presence and persistence. During that time, the Temple was where people went to worship God. It was a holy place of communion. Anna had a deep hunger to be present with God. Secondly, the Scripture says that she was there day and night. She was persistent in cultivating a loving relationship with God through prayer and fasting. These weren't just unique acts of worship, but constant expressions of her worship!

In reflection, I asked myself, "Do I long to know and worship God in this same way?" It was convicting for me to answer that question. I don't know about you, but I often find myself entering into prayer or fasting only when I'm needing something from God. I seek His hand before His heart.

Anna shows us that prayer and fasting are not acts of sacrifice for God to do something. Nor are they about gaining His affection or obtaining something from Him. They are spiritual disciplines that help us commune with Him, focusing our hearts on His holiness and goodness. As we do this, we fully embrace God's faithfulness.

Anna's persistent and present worship leads to a divine encounter with the Son of God; the fulfillment of God’s promise to His people. She praises the Lord and tells everyone she sees about His faithfulness. Through our present and persistent worship, may we also live from our encounters with Jesus!


  • ASK: Am I going to God to get things from God or to get God? What would it look like for me to first worship Him for who He is, not solely for what He can do?
  • CONFESS: What is keeping me from being present and persistent in worship? Take time to confess those things to God today.
  • PRAY: Take time to read the Psalm below. Pray it out loud and ask God to help your soul thirst for Him alone.

Read More

Psalm 63:1-5

For more information and resources on our week of prayer and fasting, visit

Week of Prayer and Fasting