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 will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” — Joel 2:28
O God, I desire this morning to approach with lowly reverence the footstool of Your throne, adoring and praising You for the rest of the past night, and the comforts and blessings of a new day. O holy, blessed, eternal Trinity, three persons, one God, have mercy upon me, and grant me Your benediction and love.
Most blessed Spirit of all grace, more especially would I at this time invoke Your presence and nearness. I acknowledge, with shame and confusion of face, how often I have grieved You by resisting Your gracious influences. How often have You pleaded with me by the voice of Providence, and yet I have turned a deaf ear to Your repeated warnings and remonstrances! You have spoken to me in prosperity, when the full cup demanded in return a heart full of gratitude. You have spoken to me in adversity, when, by the emptied cup and the broken cistern, You would have driven me from all earthly things, to the everlasting God Himself, as my only satisfying Portion. You have spoken to me by the terrors of the law and by the tender accents of gospel love, and yet I have continued to “spend my money for that which is not bread, and my labor for that which satisfies not.” Long before now I might have exhausted Your patience. “It is of the Lord’s mercies I am not consumed.”
But “take not, O gracious God, Your Holy Spirit from me.” Come, blessed Enlightener, Quickener, Sanctifier, and inspire this dull cold heart. Touched as with a live coal, may the flame of a holy love to You be rekindled on its altar. “Return, O Holy Dove, Messenger of rest,” from the true ark of God. Give me grace to hate the sins which drove You away from this guilty breast. Breathe upon me and say, “Peace be to you; receive the Holy Spirit.” Invigorate my languishing affections. May I realize my dependence on You for every pulsation of spiritual life. Without You I perish.
While I pray for this Blessed Agent in behalf of my own soul, Lord, it is my earnest prayer that He may be poured out upon all flesh — that that time may soon come, when the rain of His gracious influences shall descend on a barren church and parched world. Hasten the Pentecost of the “latter day.” Earth is at present but as the prophet’s “valley of dry bones.” Come, blessed Spirit of all grace, “breathe upon these dry bones, that they may live.”
And may the same blessed and benevolent influences be shed on every heart that is dear to me. The Spirit of the Lord is not restricted. O my Father in heaven, have You not promised to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask You? I pray that all my beloved friends may become members of that mystical body of which Jesus is the living Head, so that the oil of anointing grace poured upon Him by the Spirit, and flowing down to the skirts of His garments, may be shared by His humblest and unworthiest members, O that each and all of our hearts may become living temples, in which the Holy Spirit dwells! May nothing that is unholy find admission there, but, “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, the earnest of our inheritance,” may we be daily and habitually living in the expectation of eternal glory. Through Jesus Christ. 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