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
“I am the Lord who sanctifies you.” — Exod. 31:13
Most blessed God, You have permitted me in Your great goodness to see the light of another day. May I be enabled to receive every returning morning as a fresh token of Your love — a renewal of my lease of existence — a fresh grant of mercy from the Author of all being. May I seek, this day, and every day, to consecrate the life spared by Your bounty more and more to Your praise.
Lord, I come anew with my burden of sin. It is Your marvelous forbearance that does not make every succeeding morning my last. I bless You that there is still the cleansing blood, the “Wonderful Counselor,” the all-gracious Spirit. Give me to know, before I go forth into the world, what it is to have the sense of Your reconciled love. Whether in public or in private, in the communion of life or in the seclusion of solitude, may I realize Your presence. May it be to me the sweetest and most blessed of all thoughts, that a covenant God is “compassing my path” — that by Him I am defended, guided, supported — safe!
Heavenly Father, it is the unholiness of my heart which mars the joys of my communion with You. It is my especial prayer that You may impart largely to me of the sanctifying influences of Your grace and Spirit. Let sin be crucified more and more. Let SELF be subjugated more and more. Under the transforming power of new affections, may You become all in all. May it be mine to know, in growing experience, the happiness of true holiness. May I jealously avoid all that is likely to estrange me from You, and zealously cultivate all that is calculated to draw me nearer towards You. “Your favor is life” — O show me that to lose Your favor is death indeed!
This blessed work of inward sanctification is Yours. Alas! I feel my constant proneness to wander from You, and to seek my happiness in that which is perishable. My best resolutions, how frail! — my warmest affections, how languid and lukewarm! — my holiest moments, how distracted with vain thoughts and worldly cares! — my whole life, how stained with sin! But strengthen me with all might, by Your Spirit, in the inner man. My daily cry would be, “More grace! more grace!” There is no sufficiency in myself; but have You not promised to make Your grace sufficient? May I make it my grand ambition to be marking, day by day, my Zionward progress — my growing conformity to the holy character of a holy God.
For this end, overrule all the dispensations of Your providence. May I hear a voice in each of them proclaiming, “Be holy.” May I be led to bear them all, and to rejoice in them all, if they thus be the means of bringing me nearer Yourself.
I commend to Your fatherly protection all my beloved friends, and all for whom I ought to pray. “Sanctify them through Your truth.” May they all be presented unblameable before You in the day of Christ’s appearing.
And may the grace of the Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the communion and fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with me now and ever. 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