25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
Simeon lived in ‘prayerful expectancy of help for Israel’ (The Message version). Because he lived this way, he was actively looking for that answer to prayer. Because he lived this way, he didn’t miss the answer to his prayers when the answer walked into the Temple as a child. What are we living in prayerful expectancy for? Are we faithfully praying for our churches, our nation, our world?
As for Mary, I marvel at her as a mother. She is not told that her child would be liked, strong, successful, and have a long and comfortable life. She is told that her son would cause the rising and fall of many, that he would be rejected, that He would bring truth to light. She is told that a sword would pierce her own heart, that she would mourn. When we pray for our children what do we pray? Do we pray for success, friendship, safety, and happiness? These are excellent things to pray for. But are we also praying that our kids would be equipped to do what God asks of them even when it’s hard? This is a more difficult prayer.
Lord, please help us to live in prayerful expectation for our children, our families, our churches, our nation, and our world. Help us to see your answers to prayer even when the answers are surprising. Help us to trust you with our own lives and the lives of those we love the most, even when it’s hard.
Written by Rhiannon Mellor