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
“Hold me up, and I shall be safe.” — Psalm 119:117
Most gracious God, give me grace to begin a new morning with You. Before entering on the world, I invoke Your blessing. Before I hear the voice of earthly friend, or mingle in earthly society, may I have a conscious filial nearness to You, my Father in heaven. O You, who are better, tenderer, dearer, than all on earth, give me the sweet assurance of Your presence and favor. With this, all the day’s joys will be joys indeed — with this, the sting will be extracted from the day’s sorrows. In quiet confidence I will repose on Your covenant faithfulness. I need no other benediction, Lord, if I have Yours. Other portions may fail me, but I am independent of all, if “You are the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
I adore and bless Your holy name for every past token of your kindness and forbearance. The retrospect of life is a retrospect of love. I am a wonder to myself that You have spared me — that mercy is remembered when nothing but wrath is deserved. “Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had long before now dwelt in silence.”
On that same arm I would desire still to lean. I am compassed about with a great fight of afflictions, and the sorest and saddest of all are my sins. But I fly to You, helper of the helpless. Give me to know what it is to dismiss all my own guilty misgivings, and to rest by simple faith on a tried Redeemer. It is mistrust of Him that has been the cause of many a bygone fall. I have been dwelling more on the strength of my temptations than on the strength of my Savior. Oh, “You hold me up, blessed Jesus! and I shall be safe.” Whenever in the way of sin, give me to realize the all-sufficiency of Your grace. May every hurricane of temptation drive me more under the shelter of the Rock. May the loss of every earthly prop lead me to Yourself — the only abiding refuge. No step in the wilderness journey would I take without You. No loss would I mourn when sustained at Your bidding. No enemy would I fear if You are on my side. You hold me up, and then indeed I shall be safe — safe for time — safe for eternity.
And the same support I ask for myself, I beseech You to give to all near and dear to me. May the Lord God be their “sun and shield.” May they experience no temptation “above what they are able to bear;” or, with the temptation, grant them grace that they may be able to bear it. And when all earthly dangers and toils and trials are over, may we all be enabled to meet in glory, and trace there, with adoring gratitude and joy, the way in which Your mercy through life “has held us up.”
Anew I commend myself, body and soul, to You this day. For Your dear Son’s sake, forgive all my sins. My sole trust is in the atoning blood. May I feel this to be the best preservative against temptation and sin, that all I am, and all I have, is not my own, but belongs to the Lord who died for me. Hear these my unworthy supplications, and grant me an answer in peace, for His 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