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
“My strength is made perfect in weakness.” — 2 Cor. 12:9
O high and mighty God, inhabiting eternity, draw near to a poor unworthy sinner, who ventures anew this morning to approach the footstool of Your throne. Give me now the gracious aids of Your gracious Spirit, that out of much weakness I may be made strong. It is Your own gracious assurance, that “those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” I would rely on the faithfulness of a promising God. May my own utter emptiness drive me to all fullness. May my own conscious weakness wean me from all earthly props, and confidences, and refuges, to “abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
Lord, I confess this day with shame and confusion of face my many infirmities, my coldness and lukewarmness, my distrust of Your providence, my insensibility to Your Love, my murmuring at Your dealings, my tampering with sin, my resisting of Your grace. How often, like the slender reed, have I bent before the blast of temptation, my best resolutions proving “as the morning cloud and the early dew!”
And yet gracious Father, You have not broken “the bruised reed” — You have not “quenched the smoking flax.” I am here this morning a marvel to myself that You are still sparing me. “Your ways are not as man’s ways.” Had it been so, You would long since have grown weary. But it is the prerogative of the everlasting God that “He faints not, neither is weary.” You are this morning giving me fresh grants of mercy, renewed proofs and tokens of unmerited love. I am receiving “at the Lord’s hand double for all my sins.”
I rejoice to know, blessed Jesus, it is Your burdened ones You have specially promised “gently to lead.” You will conduct me by no rougher road than is necessary. “Undertake for me.” May the wilderness journey be this day resumed and renewed with a more simple, and childlike, and habitual leaning on You. Put this new song into my mouth, “The Lord is my Rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust.” Say to me, in the midst of my weakness, “Fear not, you worm Jacob.” With the pillar of Your presence ever before me, “I will go from strength to strength.”
Keep me this day from sin. May no evil thoughts, or vain imaginings, or deceitful lusts, obtrude on my walk with God. May an affecting sense of how frail I am, keep me near the atoning sacrifice. May the “horns of the altar” ever be in sight. Blessed Jesus, my helpless soul would hang, every moment upon You.
Look down in Your kindness on all connected with me by ties of earthly kindred. May the blessing of the God of Bethel rest on every heart and household I love. May we all be journeying Zionwards, and be so weaned from earth as to feel that Zionwards is homewards. If pursuing different paths, and separated, it may be, far from one another, may the journey have one blessed and happy termination. May we meet in glory, and meet with You. 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