Trent’s Favorite Hymns

By Trent Matthew

One of the books that I keep on hand alongside my Bible is Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotional. Another is my puritan prayer book. Another is my hymn book. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been uplifted and refreshed by these gems of which I’m deeply grateful and humbled that I may share them with you today. These hymns have been written by some incredible people – people who went through the fires of affliction and were tested and made useful by the Spirit of God; people who set the church ablaze – not just with mindless passion like we see in so many churches today, but with a deep and rich understanding of our God and savior Jesus Christ.

So as you read this, please don’t just skim over and move on. Take the time to memorize these precious words and recite them to yourself often. Trouble will come – how much easier will that trouble be if you have a good song in your mind and in your heart. From my Hymnbook of more than six hundred hymns, I have selected the ones that have been the most encouraging for me in my struggle with sexuality. My prayer is that they’ll be a blessing to
you also. I have also taken the time to give you some of the context of these great songs by telling you a little about their authors and the hardships so many of them faced. Please be encouraged by all of these. And may God, who is supremely glorious, receive honor and praise through you.

I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow – John Newton
John Newton worked on slave ships from a young age. In 1743 he was captured and forced into service by the Royal Navy. When he tried to escape he was flogged in front of the 350 crewmen. Later, he transferred to another ship which left him stranded in West Africa where he became a slave of Princess Peye of the Sherbro people. After three years of slavery and mistreatment he was rescued by his father and converted to Christianity on the voyage home. He eventually left the slave trade and helped quicken its abolition.

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 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 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.”


How Firm a Foundation – John Rippon
John Rippon was the pastor of a large church seating around 1200 people. It would later be pastored by the well known C.H. Spurgeon before moving to the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.


God Moves in a Mysterious Way – William Cowper
After being bullied and perhaps even sexuality abused by older students at Westminster boarding school, William Cowper became an emotional wreck. Although he had completed his studies in law and was offered a clerical role in the house of Lords, he was unable to handle the pressure and left. He spent the rest of his life in and out of various institutions on account of his unresolved trauma. On multiple occasions he attempted suicide but God saved him each time.

God moves in a mysterious way
his wonders to perform;
he plants his footsteps in the sea,
and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
of never-failing skill
he treasures up his bright designs,
and works his sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy, and shall break
in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
but trust him for his grace;
behind a frowning providence
he hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
unfolding ev’ry hour;
the bud may have a bitter taste,
but sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
and scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter,
and he will make it plain.


It Is Well With My Soul – Horatio Spafford
Horatio – a prominent Chicago lawyer, lost all property assets in the great Chicago fire and then the rest of his savings shortly after in an economic downturn. He lost all four of his daughters at sea when their ship sank on the Atlantic. Only his wife survived sending him a telegram reading “survived alone”

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

And Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.


Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord – Horatius Bonar
Horatius was a pastor in Kelso Scotland. During his life he tragically lost five of his children one after the other. His only surviving daughter became a widow at a young age.

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Lead me by Thine own hand,
Choose out the Path for me.

Smooth let it be, or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight it leads
Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;
I would not if I might:
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So shall I walk aright.

Take Thou my cup, and it
With joy or sorrow fill,
As best to Thee may seem;
Choose Thou my good and ill.

Choose Thou for me my friends,
My sickness or my health.
Choose Thou my cares for me,
My poverty or wealth.

Not mine, not mine the choice,
In things both great and small;
Be Thou my guide, my strength,
My wisdom and my all.


Jesus , I Come – William T. Sleeper
William T. Sleeper served as pastor of Summer Street Congregational Church in Worcester Massachusetts for 30 years.

Out of my bondage, sorrow and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy home,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.


I Need Thee Precious Jesus – Frederick Whitfield

I need Thee, precious Jesus!
For I am full of sin;
My soul is dark and guilty,
My spirit dead within:
I need the cleansing fountain,
Where I can always flee:
The blood of Christ most precious,
The sinner’s perfect plea.

I need Thee, precious Jesus!
For I am very poor;
A stranger and a pilgrim,
I have no earthly store:
I need the love of Jesus,
To cheer me on my way,
To guide my doubting footsteps,
To be my strength and stay.

I need Thee, precious Jesus!
I need a friend like Thee;
A friend to soothe and comfort,
A friend to care for me:
I need the heart of Jesus,
To feel each anxious care,
To bear my every burden,
And all my sorrow share.

I need Thee, precious Jesus!
I need Thee day by day,
To fill me with Thy fulness,
To lead me on my way;
I need Thy Holy Spirit,
To teach me what I am;
To show me more of Jesus,
To point me to the Lamb.

I need Thee, precious Jesus!
And hope to see Thee soon,
Encircled with Thy glory,
And seated on Thy throne;
There with Thy blood-bought people,
My joy shall ever be
To praise Thee, precious Jesus,
To gaze, my Lord, on Thee.


Beneath the Cross of Jesus – Elizabeth Cecelia Clephane
Despite being born a frail child and consequently dying at thirty eight, Cecilia lived charitably, even selling her horses to give to those in need.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock
Within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness,
A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat,
And the burden of the day.

Oh, safe and happy shelter!
Oh, refuge tried and sweet!
Oh, trysting place where heaven’s love
And heaven’s justice meet.
As to the holy patriarch
That wondrous dream was given,
So is my Savior by the cross
A ladder up to heaven.

There lies beneath its shadow,
But on the farther side,
The darkness of an awful grave
That gapes both deep and wide;
And there between us stands the cross,
Two arms outstretched to save,
Like a watchman set to guard the way
From that eternal grave.

Upon that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One,
Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart, with tears,
Two wonders I confess,
The wonders of His glorious love,
And my own worthlessness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross.


Away With Our Sorrow and Fear – Charles Wesley

Away with our sorrow and fear!
We soon shall recover our home,
The city of saints shall appear,
The day of eternity come:
From earth we shall quickly remove,
And mount to our native abode,
The house of our Father above,
The palace of angels and God.

Our mourning is all at an end,
When, raised by the life-giving Word,
We see the new city descend,
Adorned as a bride for her Lord;
The city so holy and clean,
No sorrow can breathe in the air;
No gloom of affliction or sin,
No shadow of evil is there.

By faith we already behold
That lovely Jerusalem here;
Her walls are of jasper and gold,
As crystal her buildings are clear;
Immovably founded in grace,
She stands as she ever hath stood,
And brightly her Builder displays,
And flames with the glory of God.

No need of the sun in that day,
Which never is followed by night,
Where Jesus’ beauties display
A pure and a permanent light:
The Lamb is their light and their sun,
And lo! by reflection they shine,
With Jesus ineffably one,
And bright in effulgence divine!

The saints in His presence receive
Their great and eternal reward;
In Jesus, in Heaven they live,
They reign in the smile of their Lord:
The flame of angelical love
Is kindled at Jesus’ face;
And all the enjoyment above
Consists in the rapturous gaze.


Subscribe to Finding a Way Blog