The words are by Charles Wesley (1707-1788), author of over 6,000 hymns.
There are several versions of the origin of the hymn. One of these is as follows:
While preaching in Ireland, Wesley and his brother were attacked and chased by men who had a disagreement with his doctrines. He penned this hymn while hiding in a hedge by a small stream.
A fifth verse, sometimes used:
Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer? Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall?Lo! on Thee I cast my care; Reach me out Thy gracious hand! While I of Thy strength receive, Hoping against hope I stand, dying, and behold, I live.
The term "lover" came from one of the apocryphal books, "The Wisdom of Solomon", which states, "O Lord, Thou lover of my soul."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (Rev. 1-20-04)
Note From Richard - Although I offer this work as original, it is subject to revisions of text and notation for clarity, and accuracy.