When John Newton was still young in years (25 or so) and young in Christ (only a year or two), he sometimes lamented his slow spiritual growth. Here’s a prayer of his from January 1, 1754. It is really a prayer all Christians can (should!?) pray. This is exactly what it means to have a broken and contrite heart – sacrifices that the Lord will not despise (Ps. 51:17).
“Alas! Most gracious Lord, what shall I say? I have nothing to offer for all thy goodness but new confessions of my guilt. That thou art kind to the unthankful and the evil, I am one of the most remarkable instances. Forgive me, I beseech thee, this year of misspent life, and charge me not with the long abuse of thy bounty. I owe thee ten thousand talents, and have nothing to pay. Yet I entreat thee to have patience with me – not that it will be ever in my power to make any amends by the best I can do, but because my Savior Jesus Christ, thy beloved Son, has done and suffered more than sufficient to atone for all my offenses, and to supply all my defects. Let me plead his merits on behalf of myself….”
This, along with other prayers and letters of John Newton, can be found on page 55 of Josiah Bull’s biography, The Life of John Newton (formerly titled But Now I See).