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
“There is none upon earth that I desire besides You.” — Psalm 73:25
O Lord, blessed fountain of all happiness and joy, draw near to me this morning in Your great mercy. All creature-comforts are emanations from You. Your favor is life — Your displeasure is worse than death. In losing You, we lose our all — in having You, we can lack nothing.
I have to acknowledge, with shame and confusion of face, that I have not thus been seeking my true enjoyment in You. I have been in pursuit of fleeting shadows, which one by one have eluded my grasp. I have been worshiping and serving the creature more than the Creator, who is “God over all, blessed forevermore.” Lord, bring me to see that nothing short of Yourself can satisfy the longings and desires of my immortal nature. Wean me from what is perishable. Let me reverentially acquiesce in whatever means You may employ to bring my wandering heart back to You, O you who are the alone-satisfying portion of my soul. Rather, Lord, would I submit to the hardest discipline than listen to the withering words, “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” Let me feel that Your presence and love can compensate for the loss of all earthly joys. As prop after prop which has gladdened my pilgrimage totters and falls, may I know what it is to “dwell in the secret place of the Most High, and to abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” As You are ever proclaiming over creature-confidence, “Dust you are, and into dust shall you return,” may I know what it is to cleave to One who is better and surer than the nearest and dearest on earth — the Friend that never fails, and never wearies, and never dies — “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to day and forever.”
Blessed Savior, I cast my every care on You. You are noting now on Your throne, the pangs and sorrows of every burdened heart. All other love is imperfect. All other sympathy is selfish but Yours. May my affections be consecrated to You. May it be my joy to serve You — my privilege to follow You, and, if necessary, to suffer with You. May every cross lose its bitterness by having You at my side. May I feel that nothing but absence from You can create a real loss in my heart. Your presence takes the sting from all afflictions, and imparts security in the midst of all troubles. Living or dying, may I be Yours.
Sprinkle me this new morning with the blood of the covenant. May I feel all throughout the day the joy of being reconciled to God. May my heart be made a little sanctuary of praise. May I breathe the atmosphere of heaven. May God Himself be so enthroned in my affections, that I may be enabled to say, in comparison with Him, of all that the world can give, “There is none upon the earth that I desire beside You.”
Heavenly Father, I leave all that belongs to me to You — “Undertake for them.” Bless them and make them blessings. “Hide them under the shadow of Your wings” until earth’s “calamities be over.” Hear this my morning supplication; and when you hear, forgive. And all 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