The Aged Christian’s Prayer

By: A.C. Bridges (Originally published in the September 1982 ARP Magazine.)

Folks today are living much longer than people have for many centuries.   Thus our Bible Song-of-the­Month, No. 151 in Bible Songs, seems an appropriate Psalm. It is entitled ”The Aged Christian’s Prayer,” and it is a version of portions of Psalm 71 which pleads with the Lord: ”Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.”

The metrical version is from the famous 1912 Psalter, and the tune is a very familiar and simple one, Avon, sometimes called Martyrdorn. It first appeared on leaflets in the late 18th Century but has undergone changes.

The composer, Hugh Wilson, was a Scotsman and the son of a shoemaker. He studied music in his spare time and was a part-time precentor at the Secession Church at Fenwick. He helped establish the first Sunday School in Duntocher, the town in which he died. It is thought that at the time of his death many manuscripts of hymn tunes were destroyed and that only this one survived.

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