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
“This one thing I do.” — Phil. 3:13
My Father in heaven, teach me, in childlike faith and confidence, to draw near this morning to Your throne of grace. Give me the blessed influences of Your Holy Spirit, that I may wait on You undisturbed by worldly distractions, and enter on the duties of another day with my mind “stayed on God.”
Blessed Jesus! — You who so freely gave Yourself a ransom for many — save me, else I perish! I have no peace but in Your pardoning, reconciling love. May Your blood and righteousness be to me “a glorious dress,” arrayed in which I may now and forever stand fearless and undismayed. I bless You, O God, if I have in any degree felt the preciousness of the Savior and His adaptation to all the needs and weaknesses of my sinful, and sorrowful, and tempted nature. I thank You if You have already hidden me in the clefts of the smitten Rock. My prayer is, that You may keep me there — that I may lean upon Jesus more than ever, and seek my happiness more exclusively in His service. May I every morning be drawn more closely by the cords of His love, and be led to fight more faithfully under His banner.
Oh for greater singleness of aim! — more self-emptying and self-abasing — that He may be all in all! Lord, I am conscious often of mingled motives, that would not stand the test of Your pure eye and Your holy Word! How often do I forfeit the joys of assurance by admitting rival claimants to the throne of my affections! How often are the surpassing interests and glories of eternity dimmed and obscured by the engrossing things of time and of sense! How mixed with imperfection and earthliness and self-seeking are my best attempts to serve You! If weighed in the balance, how would my holiest services be found lacking!
Give me more of this unity and simplicity of purpose. Give me to make salvation more the one thing needful. Let all other love be subordinated to Yours. Be my “chief joy.” May Your service be my delight. May my heart become a little sanctuary, where the incense of praise and love and thanksgiving is ascending continually. May it glow with holy zeal to promote Your cause, and testify of Your grace. Remembering all that You have done for me, may I be animated to make a more entire consecration and surrender of all I am and have to Your glory.
Let me feel that whatever my rank or station or circumstances are, I have some mission to perform for You. How often do You choose “the foolish things of the world to confound the things that are mighty!” Let me not think my talent too trifling to trade upon. May I “occupy it until my Lord comes.” Let me not squander fleeting moments, or forego fleeting opportunities. “The night is coming, when none of us can work.” Enable me now, bowing at Your mercy-seat, to replenish anew my empty vessel with the oil of Your grace, that the lamp of faith may be kept burning brightly all the day. All that I ask is for Jesus’ 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