Echoing the same theme that I found yesterday in John Donne’s poem, “Batter My Heart” (aka “Holy Sonnet XIV”), John Newton penned “Prayer Answered by Crosses.” It is yet another testimony that grace is found in burdens. God’s favor is evidenced in the revelation of “the hidden evils of my heart.” These devices and more are God’s good tools to rid our souls of idolatrous yearnings and to place all our affections and desires wholly on Him:
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith and love and every grace,
Might more of his salvation know,
And seek more earnestly his face.…
I hoped that, in some favoured hour,
At once he’d answer my request,
And by his love’s constraining power
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.…
Lord, why is this? I trembling cried;
Wilt thou pursue this worm to death?
This is the way, the Lord replied
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I now employ
From self and pride to set thee free,
And break they schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st seek thy all in me.
Read the entire hymn at Desiring God.