These lines are frequently attributed to an unknown Confederate soldier. The verses are actually by the prolific American poet, Edgar A. Guest from a poem entitled “Answered Prayer”.
Decide for yourself on the quality of the poem.
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I received nothing that I asked for, all that I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most blessed…
As Martin Luther put it, “We pray for silver, but God often gives us gold instead.”
For those interested, Prayer by O. Hallesby, PhD (1931), a reverent and thoughtful analysis of prayer, may be found at www.prayermeetings.org/…/Hallesby_O_Prayer_with_note-space.doc .