A Prayer Celebrating Jesus’ Transformation of Worship
There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, 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 [Jesus] to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:36-38
Dear Lord Jesus, there are so many reasons to love and praise you. Today I’m grateful for how you have radically transformed the worship of God, by your life, death and resurrection. The main reason we’ve been created is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, so nothing is more important than how we worship God.
Though I admire Anna for her life of devotion—worshiping God ceaselessly in the temple—I adore you for removing all the limitations temple worship imposed. You were just eight days old when Anna met you in the temple. There’s no way she could have imagined you came into the world to fulfill and replace temple worship forever.
By giving yourself for us on the cross, you have once and for all atoned for our sins and exhausted God’s righteous judgment against us. You fulfilled the entire sacrificial system; it will never resume. Hallelujah! The sacrifice we now make is one of praise, for you are the Lamb of God who has taken away our sin forever. The gospel put an end to all self-centered fears and lingering doubts about our acceptability to God. Because God delights in us, we now delight in him.
I also praise you, Jesus, for removing all spatial and calendar limitations on God’s worship. Because of what you have done for us, “true worshipers” are those who worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:21-26), not just in one place, but in every place. Though we are still to gather with our brothers and sisters for services of worship, you have transformed the entire Christian life into worship service.
Because of you, Lord Jesus, one day the entire earth will be covered with the knowledge of the glory of God. The final sanctuary will be the new heaven and new earth. Every creature and all creation will be liberated for the praise of your glory and grace. Oh, hasten that glad and glorious Day!
Until that Day, Lord Jesus, may the gospel free us to worship God more passionately and faithfully through prayer and fasting, like Anna, but also by everything else we do in life—with our thoughts, by our words, and through many gospel deeds. In view of your matchless inexhaustible mercies, we offer ourselves as living sacrifices. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.