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
“The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” — Rom. 16:20
O God, I bless You for the returning mercies of a new day. “I laid down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of the ten thousands who have set themselves against me.” Give me, I beseech You, Your fatherly protection and blessing, that all my thoughts may be ordered by You, and all my plans and purposes overruled by You, and all my joys hallowed by You, and all my sorrows sanctified by You. Keep me near Yourself. While I seek to realize, every hour of this day, the power and subtlety of my spiritual adversaries, may I rejoice in the assurance that greater is He who is with me than all those who can be against me — that, “though a host should encamp against me,” with God on my side, “I need fear no evil.”
I mourn the prevalence of sin, both in the world and in my own heart. Your creation still groans and travails under its power. “The Prince of the power of the air still works in the children of disobedience.” “The whole world lies in the Wicked One.” Often is Satan still “desiring to have me, that he might sift me as wheat” — “standing at my right hand to resist me” — to oppose my plea and damage my cause — sending some “thorn in the flesh to buffet me” — marring my peace, disturbing my joy, and hindering and impeding my spiritual growth and advancement. But, Lord, it is my comfort to know that there is in heaven a “stronger than the strong man” — that no time can impair or diminish the comfort of the assurance, “I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.” When Satan assaults, blessed Jesus, I will think of Your continual intercession. “Your hand is never shortened, that it cannot save.”
May I ever have grace given me to “resist the devil, that he may flee from me” — to keep watchfully guarded every loophole of the heart. May I abstain from all appearance of evil, avoiding every place and every company where his unholy influences are likely to prevail. “Lead me not into temptation,” and, if tempted, Lord, make a way of escape, that I may be able to bear it.
O adorable Intercessor within the veil, it is my comfort to know that, in Your season of humiliation on earth, You were “not ignorant of his devices.” You also, of him, “suffered, being tempted,” and You are therefore the more able “to aid those who are tempted.” I rejoice to think that, exalted on Your mediatorial throne, You shall reign until Satan and every other enemy be put under Your feet, and until the kingdoms of this world (so long usurped by him) shall become the “one kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.”
Heavenly Father, take this day all my beloved friends under Your guardian care. May they dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. May they, too, be able to take up the triumphant challenge — “God is for us, who can be against us?” and when their earthly work and warfare is accomplished, may we all meet in that sinless world where Satan’s seat no more can be found, and Satan’s temptations shall no longer be felt or feared. And 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