Beginning the Day with Jesus

Wednesday is for Prayer

Andrew Bonar on M'CheyneI have so much to learn.

Here’s the story of a young man who can teach every pastor some sobering, helpful, and Christ-honoring truth. We don’t have to be M’Cheyne. We don’t have to practice his model. But certainly the principle of meeting with Jesus in the first part of the day and the motivation of wanting to have our ministry centered in Christ is worthy of emulation. The following is from Kairos Journal.

Beginning the Day with Prayer—Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813 – 1843)

Robert Murray M’Cheyne was a nineteenth-century Church of Scotland minister revered for the depth of his piety. Upon hearing him preach, a listener once wrote, “I saw in you a beauty in holiness that I never saw before.”1 He served two churches, including St. Peter’s Church in Dundee, before dying at age 29.

Upon M’Cheyne’s death, ministerial colleague Andrew Bonar published a biography that included many of his manuscripts and letters. Taken from that work, this selection illustrates his determination to fight sin through spiritual disciplines. It shows the intensity with which this servant of God craved communion with his Heavenly Father.

I ought to pray before seeing any one. Often when I sleep long, or meet with others early, and then have family prayer, and breakfast, and forenoon callers, often it is eleven or twelve o’clock before I begin secret prayer. This is a wretched system. It is unscriptural. Christ rose before day, and went into a solitary place. David says, ‘Early will I seek Thee; Thou shalt early hear my voice.’ Mary Magdalene came to the sepulchre while it was yet dark. Family prayer loses much of its power and sweetness; and I can do no good to those who come to seek from me. The conscience feels guilty, the soul unfed, the lamp not trimmed. Then, when secret prayer comes, the soul is often out of tune. I feel it is far better to begin with God—to see his face first—to get my soul near him before it is near another. ‘When I awake I am still with Thee.’

If I have slept too long, or am going [on] an early journey, or my time is any way shortened, it is best to dress hurriedly, and have a few minutes alone with God, than to give it up for lost.

But, in general, it is best to have at least one hour alone with God, before engaging in anything else.2

Footnotes:

  1. Andrew A. Bonar, Memoir and Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1844), 194.
  2. Ibid., 188.

Note:  I edited a book related to M’Cheyne (An Ordination Sermon by Robert McCheyne. It is available through Amazon.com.)


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