Elderly Christians :: By Grant Phillips

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. Ask me “Why?” This subject is near and dear to my heart because I am a new member to that special club – Elderly Christians. I’m thankful to be here, because otherwise I would have missed a lot of birthdays by leaving this world years ago. My Dad always said to enjoy each birthday, because it means you are still alive to do so.

I am thankful that I am still in relatively good health. Many folks in their later years cannot make that claim. We all know however, at least those who are wise know that circumstances can change very quickly.

I am 71 now. It is interesting that those in their 80s and 90s still look at me as the young kid on the block. On the other end of the spectrum those in their 50s and younger probably wonder what is keeping me from falling head first into the grave.

I have always had a soft spot for the older folks, especially those much older than I am at the time. I’m starting to understand first-hand what I have heard the elderly say on occasion. Over the years I have heard them complain of not being respected. So many times they are treated like they’re stupid and worthless. Of course this most always comes from those who are quite young and think no one is as intelligent and in tune with the truth as they are. Boy do they have a lot to learn. I remember when I was a teenager, and even in my 20s and 30s. I thought I was brilliant and my parents were totally out of the loop.  George Bernard Shaw is credited as saying, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I’ve heard it as, “Youth is wasted on youth.” If you understand this and believe it, you may be over the hill. If it just flew over your head, you are still walking in the valley of confusion.

There is so much we can all learn from those who have walked this earth longer than we have. Yet, few are smart enough to realize that, and miss so much. I really wish I had spent more time listening to elderly Christians like my parents and grandparents.

Now I’ll stop rambling and get to the point. Many elderly Christians feel they are no longer of much use to anyone and even for the Lord, especially those who are crippled by bodily aches and pains. I remember one man saying that he spent a lifetime learning his trade and when he finally got to be one of the best, he was too old and broken down physically to continue. If you will think about it, this eventually happens to us all if we live long enough.

Allow me to provide some examples to clarify what I am hearing from elderly Christians.

  • An elderly man/woman can no longer drive, so they can no longer drive the church bus and bring the little ones to our church.
  • The elderly person can no longer preach or teach because of an illness.
  • The elderly person’s health prevents them from attending church services.

These are just three examples, but they are typical as age and its maladies overtake us. These folks love the Lord and so want to serve Him as they once did, but time is taking a toll.

If their health prevents them from being physically active, even in a small way for Christ, what are they to do? If the younger ones already know everything and are too involved in their own little world, how can they possibly minister to them?

There is one ministry the Lord Jesus has provided every Christian, regardless of age and/or circumstances that is probably the most important of all, but yet may be the most neglected. That ministry is “prayer.” Even if I am unable to speak, if my mind is functioning, I can pray, and we all need prayer.

My Mother was the greatest prayer warrior I have ever known. She used to sing in our local church and had a beautiful alto voice. She used to teach Sunday school, but her health prevented her from continuing. The one thing she had always done during her time spent on this earth though was pray, and she never stopped until she went home to be with our Lord. I have seen the results of her prayers. Not even Satan could take that away from her.

Since my wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2015, she and I have mightily increased our activity in prayer and Bible study. Isn’t it odd how something like that can change ones priorities? Every weekday evening now, we have our prayer and Bible study, and on the weekend we enjoy this time in the morning. I can’t begin to tell you what a joy it has been and how it is changing us within. I will also add that we have seen God move in our prayers, and it is always a blessing. We have taken up the mantle that my Mother and Dad did in their later years. Each day they studied their Bible together and prayed for those on their prayer list.

Prayer is so important, but I often wonder just how much it is enjoyed by most Christians. The Bible relays to us from the Old Testament through the New Testament just how important prayer is to God’s people. Daniel and the apostle Paul are just two out of many, many others in God’s Word we can use as examples. Not everyone can preach, or teach, or drive a bus, or sing, or “whatever,” but any and all of us can pray. If God heard Daniel and Paul (and He did), will He hear us? Of course God will hear us. He will hear us just assuredly as He heard Jesus in His humanity. Jesus even gave us a prayer to learn as beginners. It is found in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-3.

If you are an elderly Christian and want to feel needed, pray. Isn’t being needed the very thing that most of us want? There is no greater need in the world than prayer. Our prayers will fill that “need” in our hearts and also fulfill the need in another person’s life. We all have spiritual needs, physical needs, family needs, financial needs, emotional needs, etc. Pray for those with addictions. Some are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, etc. Some are filled with hate. Some are eaten up with greed. Some are being led astray by a false gospel.

I directed this toward the elderly in the last paragraph, but every Christian, regardless of age can enjoy the closeness and importance of prayer, and should be doing so.

Notice carefully the prayer the Lord taught His disciples (Matthew and Luke above). Start your prayer off by giving praise to God. Recognize Him. Praise Him. Honor Him. Thank Him. The more we thank Him, the longer the list gets, because He has made so much possible and provided so much for us. We could never exhaust the list of things to thank Him for.

So if you are elderly and no longer feel needed, your prayer life will bless you while it also blesses others. You are needed, and your prayers are needed. Maybe you are not elderly. Maybe you are young but incapacitated; don’t miss out on the joy of prayer.

Grant Phillips

Email: grantphillips@windstream.net

Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com

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