The Morning Watches— John MacDuff, 1852
“In the morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before You — and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3
“Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.” — Col. 1:10
O Lord, You are the heart-searching and the thought-trying God. To You all hearts are open — from You no secrets are hidden. Cleanse the thoughts of my heart this day, by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit. I would seek to begin its hours with You. May all its business and employments be perfumed with the fragrance of “the morning sacrifice.”
O You who are the great origin and end of all things, be to me the Alpha and the Omega of my daily being. May I feel existence to be a blank without You. May I feel that I can only be truly happy when a sense of Your favor and friendship, and love is sweetly intermingled with life’s duties — thus lessening every burden — hallowing every trial — diminishing every cross!
I come to You once more, an unworthy sinner, to cast myself at my Savior’s feet. What am I, that You should have borne with me so long! The ax “laid at the root of the trees” might long ago have cut me down; but I, a guilty cumberer, am still spared. The retrospect of existence, while a retrospect of patience and forbearance on Your part, is one of mournful rebellion and ingratitude on mine. I have had a “name to live,” but how much spiritual death in my best frames! I have had a form of godliness; how little have I lived out and acted out its power! More careful have I been to appear to be a Christian than really to be a Christian. How much unevenness in my walk — how much proclaimed and professed by the lip has been undone and denied in the life!
I come this morning to ask anew for mercy to pardon, and grace to help me. Especially give me the grace of a holy consistency, doing all for Your glory, having boldness to speak for You in the world. May my walk and conversation be the living evidence and expression of the sincerity and reality of the inner life.
For this end may I live more on Jesus. May my life be “hidden with Christ in God.” May I grow more and more out of myself and into my living Head. Self-humbled and self-emptied, may I be ever resorting to the all-fullness of an all-sufficient Savior. May this be my habitual feeling — “Without Him I can do nothing.” May this be my constant prayer — “Help me, Savior, or I die.”
May I be enabled this day, in His strength, to do something for God. However lowly my lot, however humble my abilities, may I feel, Lord, that You have work for me in Your vineyard. Let me not bury my talent in the earth; may I “occupy it until You come,” that “You may receive Your own with interest.”
Have mercy on Your whole Church. Pour out on all its members and office-bearers the spirit of meekness and zeal, of power and love, and of a sound mind. May “Holiness to the Lord” be written on its portals!
Hasten the blessed period when the love of Jesus, being enthroned in every heart and every Church, “we all shall be one.” And all I ask is for the Redeemer’s sake. Amen.
“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.” Psalm 143:8