Words from an Old Man Who Prayed for More Time

Josh Buice


Sometimes we are really good at putting people into little groups in the local church and walking right past one another. Often teenagers walk around in the church with the idea that the older people don’t really care about them. They blink a couple of times and find themselves in a much different position. They have reached the “old” category and feel as if they’re forgotten. They feel as if they’re a fading shadow moving through the halls of the church, but not very useful in the life of the church. I was talking to an older gentleman recently who said, “I once looked forward to the ‘Golden Days’ only to arrive there with the sobering reality that these days are filled with far more pain and far less gold than I ever imagined.”

So, what happens when you wake up one day and discover that you’re officially—old? What now? Can you do anything in the life of the church that’s profitable? Your wrinkles don’t lie as you gaze into the mirror. Your aches and pains are a continual reminder that you’re not young anymore. Yet, you remember when you once had invitations to serve and opportunities to do more in the life of the church. But now, you’re old and it’s like you’re merely focusing on existing rather than living, serving, and worshipping. Consider the words of an old man who prayed for more days, but not just to see his grandchildren’s next birthday or to travel the world on nice vacations. His prayer in Psalm 71:17-21 was different.

At the time in which the Psalmist wrote this psalm, he was an old man with grey hair. He had spent much time on planet earth and had experienced many trials and difficulties along the way. Yet, there is something that we can learn from the Psalmist—something worthy of praise and imitating.

First of all, the Psalmist was old now, but he was still proclaiming the wondrous deeds of God (Ps. 71:17). What a terrific example. In an age of compromise where many start out well but few seem to finish well—this older man was still persevering in the faith. He was steadfast in his proclamation of God’s wondrous deeds.

When the Psalmist prayed for more days, it was not a selfish prayer. He wasn’t looking for more opportunities to waste time or more days to focus on himself. He was interested in investing in the younger generation and he has a purpose in this investment. He wanted to proclaim the truth about God’s might, God’s righteousness, and God’s mighty works. He desired for the younger generation to know these very important truths about God. What a God glorifying prayer.

Far too often men fail to recognize that Titus 2 isn’t in the Bible as a women’s ministry manifesto. It’s a section of Scripture that outlines how the older saints (men and women) are to invest their time into discipling the younger generation. If you are prone to think that just because you have grey hair, wrinkles, and a body full of aches and pains that you are somehow not useful within your church—you’ve been severely misled. The younger generation needs you. The church needs you. Pastors and church leaders need you. So, don’t bench yourself. Get into the game and serve God for his glory. Look for opportunities to serve. Make it known that you want to serve. Pray selfless prayers for more days in order to invest in the younger generation for the glory of God. Charles Spurgeon once lamented about the shallowness of the church in his day by saying:

Alas! Much has been done of late to promote the production of dwarfish Christians. Poor, sickly believers turn the church into an hospital, rather than an army. Oh, to have a church built up with the deep godliness of people who know the Lord in their very hearts, and will seek to follow the Lamb wherever he goes!

Ask yourself:

  • What can I teach the younger generation about the sovereignty of God?
  • What can I teach the younger generation about the righteousness and holiness of God?
  • What can I teach the younger generation about the mighty works of God?

Look for opportunities to redeem the time and invest in your local church. Approach each day with the goal of making it count for God’s glory. There are many younger people and younger parents who are walking broken roads and experiencing the pains of life. They need direction, encouragement, and advice from wise men and women who have grey hair and wells of wisdom to share. The Psalmist could look back and teach the younger generation about the creation, the covenants, and the great work of God. However, you stand on the other side of the cross and can proclaim the truth of the promised Messiah’s birth, sinless life, substitutionary death, and victorious resurrection.

You have much to teach the younger generation. God has a purpose for your life. Take the words of an old man to heart!

Psalm 71:17-21

O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
[18] 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.
[19] Your righteousness, O God,
reaches the high heavens.
You who have done great things,
O God, who is like you?
[20] You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth
you will bring me up again.
[21] You will increase my greatness
and comfort me again.

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Josh Buice

Pastor Pray's Mill Baptist Church

Josh Buice is the founder and president of G3 Ministries and serves as the pastor of Pray's Mill Baptist Church on the westside of Atlanta. He is married to Kari and they have four children, Karis, John Mark, Kalli, and Judson. Additionally, he serves as Assistant Professor of Preaching at Grace Bible Theological Seminary. He enjoys theology, preaching, church history, and has a firm commitment to the local church. He also enjoys many sports and the outdoors, including long distance running and high country hunting. He has been writing on Delivered by Grace since he was in seminary and it has expanded with a large readership through the years.