One of John Newton’s most beautiful hymns, published in the Olney collection under the heading, “Prayer Answered by Crosses.”
1 I ask’d the Lord, that I might grow
In faith, and love, and ev’ry grace,
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek more earnestly his face.
2 ‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray,
And he, I trust, has answer’d pray’r;
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
3 I hop’d that in some favour’d hour,
At once he’d answer my request:
And by his love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
4 Instead of this, he made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in ev’ry part.
5 Yea more, with his own hand he seem’d
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Cross’d all the fair designs I schem’d,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
6 Lord, why is this, I trembling cry’d,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way,” the Lord reply’d,
“I answer pray’r for grace and faith.
7 These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou mayst seek thy all in me.”