Psalm 71.8-9, 17-18
My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent …. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.
There are now more people aged over 65 in the UK than are aged under 16, so we are an ageing society. Growing older has its own joys and challenges - more time with retirement, but declining physical and mental health and mobility, perhaps reduced income, and increasing dependence on help from others.
Lord, you have always been our refuge: before you created the hills, before you brought the world into being, you are God from all time – and you will be God forever; a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday, already gone. We are like flowers that spring up in the morning, bloom in the afternoon and die in the evening:
Lord, you know our weakness and our sinfulness – teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wiser.
We pray for those who know their days are numbered, and for those whose strength is fading; we remember those whose later years are passing by and those who are weak or in trouble or sorrow: Lord, have pity on them, fill them each morning with your love that they may praise you and be glad.
Give them as much happiness as they have had sadness; let them see your strength, and your blessing upon those they love:
O Lord, bless them and prosper them; in the name of Jesus our redeemer. Amen.
We specifically commend to your prayers all older people who are at home, especially those living alone and struggling with ill health and limited care packages; the residents and staffs of sheltered housing units, rest homes; and the work of Caraway and of the Anna Chaplains serving those who are older, those who have dementia, and all who are lonely, isolated and vulnerable.