Is the aging process a concern to you? Do you wonder what you are supposed to do as you experience the second half of your life? Will these later years be a productive time in your relationship with Jesus and in the culmination of your service to the Lord?
I will turn 75 on my next birthday, so these questions have been on my mind for quite some time. Just recently, several insights have come to me from the Word of God, and I will share a few of these in this letter. They give me hope for aging fruitfully.
A Great Celebration
Several of us from the DPM-USA office recently traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the 50th anniversary celebration of Intercessors for America, a wonderful sister organization to DPM. In 1973, Derek Prince and three other people with strong ties to DPM had been part of the group of six founders of the organization back in November of that year. Strangely enough, even though I was a young Christian at the time, I was present at that very significant conference in Florida where IFA was birthed.
The DC event was a wonderful time of reminiscence and appreciation for all that the Lord has done over the last fifty years—not only through IFA, but also in our own lives. Many of those who were there 50 years ago for the founding of IFA attended the anniversary celebration as well. Though all of us looked much older, I marveled at the vitality and the enthusiasm in the room. Somehow, we had managed to age fruitfully.
The Ultimate Reason
Back to the question at the beginning of this letter: Are you concerned about what life will be like for you in your later years? The words of Psalm 92:12–15 have brought enormous encouragement to me regarding that question. “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD [you and I] shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh [full of oil or sap] and flourishing [green], to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
One significant point of this passage is that the word flourishing appears three times. Make no mistake. God’s promise to you and me is that we will flourish and be fruitful in our advancing years. In and of itself, that promise provides tremendous hope. But the final verse gives us the reason why God wants to keep us productive.
To what end will be our fruitfulness? So that even in our later years, we will be living testimonies to the righteousness and faithfulness of God. That is aging fruitfully.
Two New Testament examples of fruitfulness and productivity in old age are Simeon and Anna—and it is fitting to speak of them in this season of celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus. In the latter part of Luke 2, we read about the lives of these two dear, aged saints on the occasion of Mary and Joseph presenting Jesus at the temple.
Verses 25 through 35 of Luke 2 tell the story of Simeon’s interaction with the Holy Family at that time. Here are some highlights from this event. At the very moment Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple, Simeon had come “by the Spirit” to that very place. He took the baby Jesus into “his arms and blessed God” with a prophetic prayer. Then, Simeon blessed Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Finally, he proclaimed prophecy and destiny concerning the life of Jesus. All of this from an aged, saintly servant of God.
Verses 36 through 38 tell the story of Anna, an elderly prophetess (the Bible tells us she was about 84 years old). Anna “just happened” to be in the temple at that exact moment as well. Here are some highlights of her involvement in this event. She “did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (v. 37). When she encountered the Holy Family, she “gave thanks to the Lord,” and then proceeded to testify about Jesus, the “Redemption of Israel,” to all who would listen.
Wouldn’t you agree that these two are stellar examples of aging fruitfully?
Creating an Atmosphere
In a wonderful message called “Gifts of Healings and Workings of Miracles” from his basic teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Derek Prince makes a number of helpful statements, including one that has to do with aging. Beforehand, in addressing the topic of healing, Derek mentions the prayer in 3 John 2 that we would be in health, going on to say, “It is good to be healed, but it is much better to be healthy.” Then he adds:
But beyond being in health, there is a further benefit which is also very useful, particularly for some of us, which is stated in Psalm 103:5: “So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
I believe that this also is the portion of the believer who is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. We do not have a resurrection body. But what we do have and what we are entitled to claim is resurrection life in a mortal body. That is more than equal to the ravages of sickness and disease and even, in a certain measure, to counterbalance the working of old age.
After all, Moses was 120 years old. “His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated” (Deut. 34:7). Moses spent so much time in the presence of God that he really was living in a different kind of atmosphere from so many other people.
The atmosphere we live in makes a lot of difference. The atmosphere you live in has a lot to do with what you experience. The Spirit-filled believer should create an atmosphere around him or her of positive faith, confidence, and praise. I firmly believe this.
Settling the Issue
By now, you should be feeling better about the prospect of aging. I hope your faith is expanding in response to God’s promise for conspicuous fruitfulness as you grow older. Let’s settle that issue in our hearts with the following prayer together:
Dear Lord, with faith and hope, I accept the reality of the aging process, and I renounce any fears I might have had about getting older. You have called me, Lord, and You intend to use me, even in the latter part of my life. In Your sovereignty, You planned my beginning and You know my end.
I proclaim the truth of Psalm 92, that I will flourish in my old age and will still bear fruit at that time. Empower me, like the aged prophetess Anna, to declare Your righteousness and power to everyone who will listen.
Thank You, Lord, for Your promise that I will age fruitfully. Amen.
Taking a Stand Together
The proclamation of trust we have just made is a very important step. In essence, we have drawn a line in the sand, taking a stand against any fear the enemy might try to inflict upon us about growing older. It is a clear word of faith and hope in the Lord.
Guess what? All of us who work here at Derek Prince Ministries are growing older as well. We identify with you, and we stand with you in the challenges that come with aging. It is our honor to offer encouragement and stamina for each stage of your life.
The first way we can do so is by supplying you with “Gifts of Healings and Workings of Miracles,” the full message from which we took Derek Prince’s quote. It is yours for free upon request, just a simple way for us to support you and thank you for standing with us through your prayers and financial contributions. We appreciate you!
A Significant Season
In this wonderful time of the year, we celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ came in the form of an infant. Like each of us, He began as a baby. Like each of us, the Father was watching over every aspect of His birth and life. But isn’t it amazing that the first people to prophesy, praise, and testify about Jesus were elderly saints who had been waiting faithfully for His arrival? Simeon and Anna were the epitome of aging fruitfully.
Let’s follow their example in these days of advent, believing that we are ushering in a new season of renewal, revival, and restoration in the days ahead. I believe with all my heart that times of tremendous significance are just ahead of us in the Kingdom of God.
We don’t know when these events will take place. Nor do we know when Jesus will return to the earth for a second time. Simeon knew he would not “see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26). In that same Spirit for this season of advent, let us stand strong, determined to be faithful to the very end of our lives—aging fruitfully.