by John MacDuff
"The Lord is good unto those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him." Lam. 3:25
O God, Inspirer of all good thoughts, the Hearer and Answerer of prayer—draw near to me in infinite loving-kindness. At this Morning-gate of Your Temple, I desire anew to ask Your blessing, and to invoke Your favor. You have graciously said, that You are good to those, who, in simplicity of faith and earnestness of trust and hope, wait upon You. "My soul, wait only upon God, for my expectation is from him!"
I thank You for Your sparing mercy. While others have been laid on beds of sickness, or prostrated by accident, or called away by sudden death—I am this hour among the living to praise You. How constant and how tender has been Your care and kindness to me in the days that are past! How enduring Your long-suffering, despite of countless provocations, and in the midst of ingratitude and disobedience, declension and backsliding!
I wait upon You, this morning, to implore forgiveness for the past and grace for the future. Give me the blessed sense of pardon and peace through the blood of the cross. Seal to me afresh the blessings of the new and well ordered covenant. Say, in mingled omnipotence and love, "Your sins are all forgiven you," Being thus forgiven much, may I lean upon You and trust You in the time to come; feeling that I cannot be in better or in safer keeping than in Yours. For all my joys, may I have chastened gratitude and thankfulness while they are granted; yet seeking not to invest them with a permanency which is not theirs. And when You curtail them, or take them away, let me not dishonor You with guilty doubts and distrustful fears. May this thought silence every murmur—"He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him also, freely give us all things." May I know and feel assured, that all things, by immutable covenant, are working, and will work together for good to those who love You. Thus do You shed hope and joy and peace around my daily path; may Goodness and Mercy, like two guardian angels, follow me all the days of my life, and may my dwelling be in the house of the Lord forever.
Before I engage in my daily duties, I would implore Your guidance and protection. I cannot forecast the circumstances in which I may be placed today; what temptations may beset me—what troubles may oppress me. Let a sense of Your presence hallow my worldly work—that so, begun—carried on, and ended in You, all may redound to Your praise and glory. Let me use, with a glad and grateful heart, the many enjoyments You have given me in this beautiful earth; but abolish the evil dominion of self and selfishness. Keep me from the beguiling and seductive love of pleasure, on which Your approval cannot rest. Write the law of kindness on my heart. Let it be my happiness and joy to minister to others. May I feel that it is better to give than to receive; better to be last than to be first. Keep me pure—preserve me from false living—from all artifice—all underhand and dubious dealings—all crooked and covetous ways. May my converse be sincere, my conscience clear as the noonday. Serving You cheerfully here, may I become more and more fitted for the full consecration—the perfect spontaneity of the heavenly world.
I pray for all unsolaced, unsuccoured, and unpitied ones; all the wide circle and family of affliction. O You who bear Your people, as a man bears his own son that serves him—do bear their griefs and carry their sorrows. Even when wills are thwarted and plans are crossed—may they too know what it is "to wait only upon God." May the bruising in the olive-press of trial, only cause an overflow of the oil of joyful submission. Spare useful and valued lives. Let not the sun of existence go down before it is yet day. Prepare the dying for death and what is after death. May they exult in the finished work of Jesus—may the music of His name refresh their souls in the closing hour; and when they are taken away, may those left to mourn their loved and lost, know that the message "You shall die and not live," comes from You.
I pray for Your Church. Increase her faith, stimulate her zeal, heal her breaches. O Blessed Redeemer, who, by reason of these unhappy divisions, are wounded in the house of Your friends—do bring the varied members of the household of faith nearer You, and then they shall be nearer one another. Send times of refreshing unto Zion. Pour upon her the continual dew of Your blessing—may no part of the fleece be dry. Beautify Your sanctuary—make the place of Your feet glorious.
Anew I commend myself and all belonging to me, this day, to Your gracious keeping. Waiting upon You, may I be enabled to renew my strength—and know that You never say to any of the seed of Jacob, Seek you my face in vain. And all I ask is for Jesus' sake. Amen.