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
“Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my soul to You.” — Psalm 143:8
O eternal Lord, whose nature and whose name is love, I bless You that I am again invited into Your presence. What am I, that I should be permitted to speak to the infinite God! I might have been left through eternity a monument of Your righteous vengeance. I might have known You only as “the consuming fire.” But “Your ways are not as man’s ways;” mercy is remembered when wrath might have come upon me to the uttermost.
I desire to begin this day, blessing and praising You for “Your unspeakable gift,” Jesus the Son of Your love. Adored be your name, that the guilt of my sin, which the holiness of Your law could not permit otherwise to be cancelled, has to Him been transferred — that, as the scape-goat of His people, He has borne the mighty load into the land of oblivion, never more to be remembered. May I be enabled to show forth my lively gratitude to You for this wondrous token of Your Love, not only by lip homage, but by heart and life devotion. Sanctify and seal me in body, soul and spirit; and present me at last “faultless before the presence of Your glory with exceeding joy.”
O my God, I rejoice to know that my interests for time and eternity are confided to Your keeping. Though often “wonderful in counsel,” You are ever “excellent in working.” You are “God only wise” — “righteous in all Your ways, and holy in all Your works.” I commit my way and my doings unto You. “You hold me up, and I shall be safe.” May I trust Your wisdom and faithfulness even amid crosses and losses, and frowning providences. Make them all work together for my good.
If my path be in any way now hedged up with thorns, “undertake for me,” “Guide me with Your counsel.” Let me take no step, and engage in no plan, unsanctioned by Your approval. Let it be my grand aim and ambition, in all the changes of a changing life, to hear Your directing voice, saying, “This is the way, walk in it;” and then shall all life’s trials be sweetened, and life’s burden lightened, by knowing that they are the appointment of infinite wisdom and unchanging love, and that, though man may err, God never can.
May Your Holy Spirit lead me this day into all the truth. May all its duties be pervaded by the leavening power of vital godliness. While in the world, may I seek to feel and to exhibit that I am not of it. May I give evidence, in my walk and conversation, of a renewed nature, and of a nobler destiny.
Hasten, blessed Jesus, Your coming and Your kingdom. “How long shall the wicked triumph?” “Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; feed them also, and lift them up forever.”
Let the voice of salvation be heard in the household of all I love. May theirs be the dwellings of the righteous. May this be their name, “The Lord is there.” May they know Him who has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
And “now, Lord, what do I wait for? my hope is in You.” Hear and answer these unworthy supplications, 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