Monthly Archives: March 2010

The essence of worship

Words from John Piper:

[T]he essence of worship is not external, localized acts, but an inner, Godward experience that shows itself externally not primarily in church services (though they are important) but primarily in daily expressions of allegiance to God.

John Piper
Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, page 228 (ebook edition)

Break thy schemes of earthly joy

A moving hymn by John Newton. I don’t think I have the guts to try to set it musically for fear of somehow losing the power of the text itself.

Prayer answered by crosses

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.

’Twas he who taught me thus to pray,
And he, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored 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 every part.

Yea more, with his own hand he seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, 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.”

John Newton. Olney Hymns (1799), Book III, 36.