I Asked the Lord that I Might Grow

Former slave trader John Newton wrote this hymn in 1779. Although we do not know the exact reasons why we suffer just like Job, John Newton imagines what God would have us learn during these seasons. The version I have linked below is perhaps more sombre than a version you have heard before, but I feel it nicely fits the tone of the poem.

I asked 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.

’Twas he who taught me thus to pray,
and he, I trust, has answered pray’r,
but it has been in such a way
as almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favoured hour
at once he’d answer my request,
and by his love’s constraining pow’r
subdue my sins and give me rest.

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.

Yea more, with his own hand he seemed
intent to aggravate my woe,
crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
humbled my heart, and laid me low.

“Lord, why is this?” I, trembling, cried;
“Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?”
“Tis in this way,” the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.

“These inward trials I employ
from self and pride to set thee free,
and break thy schemes of earthly joy
that thou may’st find thy all in me.”

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