The Morning Watch
by Andrew Murray
"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Yahweh-Elohim; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up" - (Ps. 5:3.) "Yahweh-Elohim ... wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned" - (Isa. 50:4.)
Morning has always been considered the time best suited for personal worship by God's servants. Most Christians regard it as a duty and a privilege to devote some portion of the beginning of the day to seek fellowship with God. Many Christians observe the morning watch, while others speak of it as the quiet hour, the still hour, or the quiet time. All these, whether they think of a whole hour or half an hour or a quarter of an hour, agree with the Psalmist when he says, "My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O Yahweh".
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MORNING WATCH
In speaking of the extreme importance of this daily time of quiet for prayer and meditation on God's Word, a well-known Christian leader has said: "Next to receiving Christ as Saviour and claiming the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we know of no act that brings greater good to ourselves or others than the determination to keep the morning watch, and spend the first half hour of the day alone with God." At first glance this statement appears too strong. The firm determination to keep the morning watch hardly appears sufficiently important to be compared to receiving Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, it is true that it is impossible to live our daily Christian life, or maintaining a walk in the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, without a daily, close fellowship with God. The morning watch is the key to the position in which the surrender to Christ and the Holy Spirit can be unceasingly maintained.
The morning watch must not be regarded as an end in itself. Although it gives us a blessed time for prayer and Bible study and brings us a certain measure of refreshment and help, that is not enough. It is to serve to secure the presence of Christ for the whole day.
Personal devotion to a friend or a pursuit means that they will always hold a place in our heart, even when other people and things occupy our attention. Personal devotion to Jesus means that we allow nothing to separate us from Him for a moment. To abide in Him and His love, to be kept by Him and His grace, to be doing His will and pleasing Him- this cannot possibly be an irregular practice if we are truly devoted to Him.
"I need Thee every hour," "Moment by moment I am kept in His love." These hymns are the language of life and truth. "In Thy name shall they rejoice all the day" (Psalm 89:16). "I Yahweh do keep it; I will water it every moment" (Isaiah 27:3). These are words of divine power. The believer cannot stand for one moment without Christ. Personal devotion to Him refuses to be content with anything less than to abide always in His love and His will. This is the true scriptural Christian life. The importance and blessedness and true aim of the morning watch can only be realized as our personal devotion becomes its chief purpose.
SECURING HIS PRESENCE
The clearer the objective of our pursuit, the better we will be able to adapt to attain it. Consider the morning watch now as the means to this great end: I want to secure the presence of Christ all the day, to do nothing that can interfere with it. I feel that my success during the day will depend upon my time spent alone with Him in the morning. Meditation and prayer and the Word are secondary to this purpose: renewing the link for the day between Christ and me in the morning hour.
Concern for the day ahead, with all its possible cares, pleasures, and temptations, may seem to disturb the rest I have enjoyed in my quiet devotion. This is possible, but it will be no loss. True Christianity aims at having the character of Christ so formed in us, that in our most ordinary activities His temperament and attitudes reveal themselves. The Spirit and the will of Christ should so possess us that in our relationships with people, in our leisure time, and in our daily business it will be second nature to act like Him. All this is possible because Christ Himself, as the Living One, lives in us.
Do not be disturbed if at first this goal appears too difficult and occupies too much of your time in the hour of private prayer. The time you give to bring your daily concerns to the Lord will be richly rewarded. You will return to prayer and Scripture reading with new purpose and new faith. As the morning watch begins to have its effects on the day, the day will respond to its first half hour, and fellowship with Christ will have new meaning and power.
As we seek to have this unbroken fellowship with God in Christ throughout the day, we will realize that only a definite meeting time with Christ will secure His presence for the day. The one essential thing to having this daily quiet time is wholehearted determination, whatever effort or self-denial it may cost, to win the prize. In academic study or in athletics, every student needs determined purpose to succeed. Christianity requires, and indeed deserves, not less but more intense devotion. If anything, surely the love of Christ needs the whole heart.
It is this fixed decision to secure Christ's presence that will overcome every temptation to be unfaithful or superficial in the keeping of our pledges. This determination will make the morning watch itself a mighty force in strengthening our character and giving us boldness to resist self-indulgence. It will enable us to enter the inner chamber and shut the door for our communion with Christ. From the morning watch on, this firm resolution will become the keynote of our daily life.
In the world it is often said: Great things are possible to any man who knows what he wills and wills it with all his heart. The believer who has made personal devotion to Christ his watchword will find in the morning hour the place where day by day the insight into his holy calling is renewed. During this quiet time, his will is fortified to walk worthy of his calling. His faith is rewarded by the presence of Christ who is waiting to meet him and take charge of him for the day. We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. A living Christ waits to meet us. (Article taken form Daily Experience with God by Andrew Murray.)
This superb article was sent to us by friends in South Africa and made such an impact on me personally that as I was awaking one morning I brought it to mind. As I did, Yahweh opened a vision up to me of waves or ripples moving out from a central point, which marked the beginning of the day, and reaching out into the rest of the day, influencing and shaping it by its touch. I highly recommend its good scriptural counsel.
This page was created on 18 August 2009
Last updated on 18 August 2009
Copyright © Andrew Murray - Reproduced with Thanks