Recently I was planned to preach at Victoria Park and was invited into their vestry before the service began. Around the room were various photos hanging on the wall but one in particular caught my eye. I could read the title, but it was too far away to read the content. I was intrigued by the thought of reading a ‘17th Century Nun’s prayer. I wondered what deep theological content I would encounter. I was surprised to read something very practical and a piece that I could identify with as someone who had a grip on the reality of life. I share this with you, I hope you appreciate it as much as I did.
17th Century Nun’s prayer.
Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will some day grow old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of other’ pains but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessing cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a saint – some of them are so hard to live with – but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, O Lord the grace to tell them so. AMEN