For centuries believers have turned to the Book of Psalms to help them express their deepest sorrows and greatest joys. The verses found within its pages are some of the most quoted and memorized portions of the Bible, and many of them have been transformed into the beloved hymns that seniors and their families sing during worship services.
Because they cover this broad range of emotions and topics, psalms are ideal for use in times of prayer and meditation. As we look ahead to the start of a new season in our Bethesda Senior Living communities, here are four psalms that seniors might want to pray over this summer during their studies.
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! Psalm 139:16-17 (NLT)
Psalm 139 is well-known thanks to many of its verses being used individually in studies and sermons; however, seniors of faith shouldn't overlook the powerful lessons that can be gleaned by studying the chapter as a whole.
When broken into sections, the first part of the psalm reminds us that God is always with us and that we are always in His presence and thoughts. Its middle and end discuss the way God created each one of us. Together, the verses paint a vivid picture of a very personal God who knows us intimately and is involved in every aspect of our lives from beginning to end.
The one thing I ask of the LORD— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, delighting in the LORD’s perfections and meditating in his Temple. Psalm 27:4 (NLT)
In Psalm 27, David expresses his deep longing to seek the Lord and be in His presence every day. He notes that God is always with Him, even when everyone else has left him, and how God protects him in times of danger. The final two verses record the psalmist's confidence that he will see God's goodness during his life.
Jesus assures us in Matthew 7:8 that David's wish is within the grasp of every believer: "For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."
We are also promised that by seeking the Kingdom of God first, all other things will be given to us (Matthew 6:33) and that by knowing God and Jesus, we will gain an abundant, eternal life (John 10:10 and John 17:3).
Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me. Psalm 103:2 (NLT)
A popular hymn calls us to count our blessings and to name them one by one. Similarly, Psalm 103 joyfully exults over the wonderful things that God has done for us, including forgiving our sins, healing our diseases and showering us in love. It continues, going on to describe God as a tender father who is mindful of our weaknesses and offers us compassion instead of the judgment we deserve.
Seniors of faith know from experience that life is difficult. Jesus himself confirms that in this world we will have trouble, but He also encourages us not to worry because He is greater than these troubles (John 16:33).
As believers know, it takes faith to follow Christ and trust Him when we are facing trials and storms in our lives. Knowing that God is aware of our troubles and remembering He never makes light of our present circumstances helps us join the psalmist in his heartfelt praise.
Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me. Psalm 71:18 (NLT)
Before ascending to heaven, Jesus instructed his followers to go out into the world and spread the gospel. As seniors pray over and study the psalms this summer from their assisted living community, it's important that they take to heart the influence they have on those around them and the many chances they have to share their faith.
In addition to serving as an example to their families, seniors touch the lives of their neighbors within their Bethesda Senior Living community and the staff members they interact with each day. They also have opportunities to participate in volunteer and intergenerational activities.
The writer of Psalm 71 states their life serves as an example to others because of the things God has done for them (verse 7). In the same way, seniors' many years of experience give them a powerful testimony to share with those they love.