Usually at this time of year, I’m involved with activities centered on Lent but as I helped my wife, Mell care for her mom, and visited several others who were dealing with age related issues… the struggles that go along with getting older has weighed on my mind. Several weeks ago I found this devotion and prayer written by Joni Eareckson Tada.
In fact much of the wisdom in the prayer would serve us well as we try to live as disciples of Christ.
A Prayer for Maturing Faith
— shared by Joni Eareckson Tada
Scripture: “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. Wisdom is a shelter.'” (Ecclesiastes 7:10-12)
My mother used to say, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.” She was right. I always thought it would be a cinch to grow old gracefully; then I crested fifty and found out differently! That’s why the following prayer written by an anonymous saint from the seventeenth century means so much to me:
Lord, you know better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody: Helpful, but not bossy with my vast store of wisdom.
It seems a pity not to use it all but you know Lord that I want a few friends to remain at the end…
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point swiftly.
Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a sour old person – some of them are so hard to live with and each one a crowning work of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.
I don’t know about you but as I pray this prayer, I learn a little bit about aging but I learn a lot more about maturing with grace.
Whether you are old or young, there is much wisdom in this prayer. May God give me the humility to pray it regularly and the courage to live it out.