Prayer in Time of Old Age
1In you, LORD, I take refuge;a
let me never be put to shame.b
2In your justice rescue and deliver me;
listen to me and save me!
3Be my rock of refuge,
my stronghold to give me safety;
for you are my rock and fortress.c
4My God, rescue me from the hand of the wicked,
from the clutches of the evil and violent.d
5You are my hope, Lord;
my trust, GOD, from my youth.
6On you I have depended since birth;
from my mother’s womb you are my strength;e
my hope in you never wavers.
7*I have become a portent to many,
but you are my strong refuge!
8My mouth shall be filled with your praise,
shall sing your glory every day.
9Do not cast me aside in my old age;
as my strength fails, do not forsake me.
10For my enemies speak against me;
they watch and plot against me.f
11They say, “God has abandoned him.
Pursue, and seize him!
No one will come to the rescue!”
12God, be not far from me;
my God, hasten to help me.g
13Bring to a shameful end
those who attack me;
Cover with contempt and scorn
those who seek my ruin.h
14I will always hope in you
and add to all your praise.
15My mouth shall proclaim your just deeds,
day after day your acts of deliverance,
though I cannot number them all.i
16I will speak of the mighty works of the Lord;
O GOD, I will tell of your singular justice.
17God, you have taught me from my youth;
to this day I proclaim your wondrous deeds.
18Now that I am old and gray,j
do not forsake me, God,
That I may proclaim your might
to all generations yet to come,k
Your power 19and justice, God,
to the highest heaven.
You have done great things;l
O God, who is your equal?m
20Whatever bitter afflictions you sent me,
you would turn and revive me.
From the watery depths of the earth
once more raise me up.
21Restore my honor;
turn and comfort me,
22That I may praise you with the lyre
for your faithfulness, my God,
And sing to you with the harp,
O Holy One of Israel!
23My lips will shout for joy as I sing your praise;
my soul, too, which you have redeemed.
24Yes, my tongue shall recount
your justice day by day.
For those who sought my ruin
have been shamed and disgraced.
* [Psalm 71] A lament of an old person (Ps 71:9, 18) whose afflictions are interpreted by enemies as a divine judgment (Ps 71:11). The first part of the Psalm pleads for help (Ps 71:1–4) on the basis of a hope learned from a lifetime’s experience of God; the second part describes the menace (Ps 71:9–13) yet remains buoyant (Ps 71:14–16); the third develops the theme of hope and praise.
* [71:7] A portent to many: the afflictions of the sufferer are taken as a manifestation of God’s anger, cf. Dt 28:46; Ps 31:12.
h. [71:13] Ps 35:4; 40:15; 70:3.
k. [71:18] Ps 22:31–32; 48:14–15; 145:4.