Wayne S. Walker

“…And in the morning my prayer comes before You” (Ps. 88.13)

     INTRO.:  A hymn which expresses the desire for one’s prayer to come
before God in the morning is “Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun.”  The
text was written by Thomas Ken (1637-1711).  It was most likely produced
in 1693 as the first of his “Morning, Evening, and Midnight Hymns,” each
of which concluded with the familiar doxology, “Praise God from whom all
blessings flow…,” to be published in his 1694 “Manual of Prayers for
the Use of the Scholars of Winchester College” (although they were
apparently not printed until the second edition of 1695).  Ken himself
revised it in 1709 for republication in 1711.  (Note: a hymn study of the
evening hymn, “All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night,” was posted on
Sat., Mar. 17, 2001).

     The tune (Morning Hymn) most often used with it was composed for
this text by Francois Hippolyte Barthelemon (1741-1808).  It was produced
in 1785 at the request of the chaplain at a female orphan asylum in
London, England.  Its first publication seems to have been in 1791.
Among historic hymnals used in churches of Christ, the song (with two
stanzas and the doxology) is found in the 1937 “Great Songs of the Church
No. 2″ (#345), edited by E. L. Jorgenson.  Today, it appears in this same
form in the 1992 “Praise for the Lord” (#58) edited by John P. Wiegand.

     The six commonly used stanzas encourage us to rise each morning
prepared to serve the Lord.

I. Stanza 1tells us to wake up
     “Awake, my soul, and with the sun Thy daily stage of duty run;
     Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise To pay thy morning sacrifice.”
 A. God made each day for us to arise for our daily duty, just as the sun
arises each day to run its course: Ps. 19.1-6
 B. Therefore, we should shake off the sleep of darkness and put on the
armor of light: Rom. 13.11-12
 C. The morning sacrifice here is undoubtedly a reference to “the
sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips”:
Heb. 13.15

II. Stanza two tells us to be a light
     “By influence of the light divine Let thy own light to others shine;
     Reflect all heaven’s propitious rays In ardent love and cheerful
 A. We need to be walking in the light divine: 1 Jn. 1.5-7
 B. Then, our lives can be the light of the world to others: Matt. 5.16
 C. One way that we reflect heaven’s propitious rays is in ardent love,
both for God and for others: Matt. 22.37-39, Jn. 13.34-35, 1 Jn. 5.3

III. Stanza three tells us to praise God
     “Wake and lift up thyself, my heart, And with the angels bear thy
     Who all night long, unwearied, sing high praise to the eternal
 A. In every act of worship, whether individual or collective, we should
put our hearts into what we do: Ps. 19.14, Mt. 15.7-9
 B. In our worship here on earth, we join with the angels in heaven: Heb.
 C. Thus, it is good to begin each day with praise to God: Ps. 148.1-14

IV. Stanza four tells us to be thankful for God’s care
     “All praise to Thee, who safe hast kept, And has refreshed me while
I slept;
     Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake, I may of endless light
 A. The Lord has promised to watch over His people, so that we can pillow
our heads at night secure in the knowledge of His care: Ps. 4.8
 B. God has also promised that He will watch over His people when they
experience the sleep of death as well: 1 Thes. 4.13-17
 C. And just as in this life we wake each day to the light of the sun, so
the faithful can look forward to an awakening to the endless light of
God’s presence: Rev. 21.23

V. Stanza five tells us to dedicate ourselves to the Lord’s service
     “Lord, I my vows to Thee renew; Disperse my sins as morning dew;
     Guard my first springs of thought and will And with Thyself my
spirit fill.”
 A. The word “vows” here simply refers to the commitment that we have
made to serve the Lord: Eccl. 5.4
 B. Renewing our vows involves asking God to forgive us of the sins that
we have committed: Matt. 6.12, 1 Jn. 1.9
 C. It also involves asking God to guard our thoughts and will that our
spirits might be filled with Him: Eph. 3.16-19

VI. Stanza six tells us to seek God’s direction and guidance during the
     “Direct, control, suggest, this day, All I design, or do, or say;
     “That all my powers, with all their might, In Thy sole glory may
 A. We should want the Lord to direct us: Prov. 3.6
 B. Therefore, we should submit all that we think, do, and say to God’s
control: Phil. 4.8
 C. When we do this, all our powers, with all their might, will unite to
God’s glory: Eph. 3.21

CONCL.:  Each day that we live is a gift from God.  Our aim should be to
use each day that we live for His honor and glory.  Therefore, I should
ask His blessings as I “Awake, My Soul, and With the Sun.”

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