“So teach us to number our days,
that we may present to You a heart of wisdom”
Lord, thou hast been thy children’s God,
All-powerful, wise and good, and just,
In every age their safe abode,
Their hope, their refuge, and their trust,
Before thy word gave nature birth,
Or spread the starry heavens abroad,
Or formed the varied face of earth,
From everlasting thou art God.
Great father of eternity,
How short are ages in thy sight!
A thousand years, how swift they fly,
Like one short silent watch of night!
Uncertain life, how soon it flies!
Dream of an hour, how short our bloom!
Like spring’s gay verdure now we rise,
Cut down ere night to fill the tomb.
Teach us to count our shortening days,
And with true diligence apply
Our hearts to wisdom’s sacred ways,
That we may learn to live and die.
–Anne Steele (1717-1778)