Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hymn-ful Sundays! "What a Friend we have in Jesus"

This hymn is a really, really well-known one by Joseph M. Scriven. When I was younger, I always thought it was such a sad hymn. (I think it was because it was sung so often at funerals.) Now my perspective on it is a bit different.

About the hymnwriter: Joseph Scriven, an Irish poet, originally wrote this as a poem to comfort his sick mother, as they lived on two different continents. Scriven lived in Canada, while his mother lived in Ireland. Scriven was no stranger to tragedy his fiancée died the night before their wedding, and he was engaged to another woman who suddenly fell ill and died as well.

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! 

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! 
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, 
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer. 

 Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? 
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. 
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
 Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer. 

 Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? 
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer. 
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer! 
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Joseph M. Scriven

This hymn is such a powerful reminder of the importance of prayer, our means of communication with our friend, Jesus. It highlights Jesus' friendship with us, how He is our comfort, our refuge, our confidante and our Savior. Our every instinct should be to call on this Friend first, when times are great, when times are bad, when times are tough and trying. He is the most faithful of friends, and it is such a joy and comfort to know this.

Be blessed and shine in prayer!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23