My experience has taught me that many believers in Christ do not fully realized how it was necessary for God to protect His Son, prior to birth and throughout His earthly life. The father had employed several ways to protect His son from satanic efforts to destroy His life. It would have been the devil’s biggest dream come through had Jesus died before fulfilling His redemptive mandate. Behind the recorded effort shortly after His birth to kill Him through Herod, were probably several other efforts mastermind by Satan to eradicate Him. However, none of his schemes proved successful, as Christ fulfilled His mission on the earth.
One of the methods used by God to protect His Son is through prayer and intercession. God very carefully and strategically put two people in place, years before the birth of Jesus, for the expressed purpose of Intercession. It is interesting to examine the story of each of these intercessors, and how God put them in place to accomplish His plan to protect His son.
The story of Simeon: Luke 2:25-31
At that time, there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required. Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Simeon story has revealed a strategic plan of protection for the child, designed by God and involved the power of prayer and intercession. The Lord has revealed to him that he would not die before he receives and bless the Messiah. In the case of Simeon, it is not exactly clear, the length of time prior to the birth that he was set up by God. The narrative seems to suggest though, that it was quite some time before the birth. Simeon carried a deep expectation in his heart, which was to see and hold the Messiah. He maintained a life of strict righteous devotion in the temple. He waited patiently in prayer for the Messiah to be revealed.
When he held the child in his hands, he praised the Lord and requested of the lord to take him home in peace. “For mine eyes have seen the salvation of the Lord.”
The other story of strategic prayer planning is related to Anna. A faithful woman of God.
The Prophecy of Anna
Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived, as a widow to the age of eighty-four She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
We do not know at what aged she got married, but let us assume sixteen. Her husband died seven years into the marriage according to the account and she lived until eighty-four as a widow. It would seem from all indication, that Anna was well over ninety-three years when she died. Seventy-seven of those years were spent in the temple in prayer and intercession for the Messiah. Anna was put in place about seventy-seven years before the birth of Christ to intercede for His protection.
God values and counts on the prayer of the saints to fulfil His plan in the earth.