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Inspirational Readings|57 Songs:Devotional of Beloved Hymns - What A Friend We Have In Jesus

Updated on August 7, 2015
Babbyii profile image

Barb has been a worship leader since 1997. She has also served on worship teams in other Alaska churches.

Do You Know This Song?

Are You Familiar With The Hymn?

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As a child, I was often welcomed home with the voice of my grandmother singing, "What A Friend We Have In Jesus".
As a child, I was often welcomed home with the voice of my grandmother singing, "What A Friend We Have In Jesus".

A Favorite Hymn Of Peace

Of all the hymns that come to mind this is the one I recall most often. If you ask me about hymns in general out of the blue, this one is probably the first I would mention. It’s a song I recall hearing quite often as a young girl growing up and living with my grandmother for several years during the most impressionable block of time in a child's life.

In my mind’s eye I can still picture myself walking down the long South Chicago street nearing my Bigmama’s house as I was returning home from school. I can hear the familiar welcoming sweet sound of the piano coming from the store-front Baptist church which was also our home as I continued to get closer. As I open the gate I can also now hear Bigmama singing along as she plays …”O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear…” It must have been her favorite hymn too because she played and sang that one more often than all of the other hymns. And the peace and tranquility I saw on my grandmother's face each time she played it confirmed that it was.

The Story Behind What A Friend We Have In Jesus:YouTube Video

Joseph M. Scriven, who knew pain, tragedy and disappointment intimately, wrote the lyrics to 'What A Friend We Have In Jesus'  in 1855 to comfort his mother while she still resided in Ireland and he lived in Ontario, Canada
Joseph M. Scriven, who knew pain, tragedy and disappointment intimately, wrote the lyrics to 'What A Friend We Have In Jesus' in 1855 to comfort his mother while she still resided in Ireland and he lived in Ontario, Canada

Praise be to the Lord,

To God our Savior,

Who daily bears our burdens

Psalms 68:19 NIV

In Japan the hymn is a favorite during weddings. Other countries have adopted the hymn as a patriotic song and used it at solemn ceremonies and as an invitational altar call to give one's life to Christ.
In Japan the hymn is a favorite during weddings. Other countries have adopted the hymn as a patriotic song and used it at solemn ceremonies and as an invitational altar call to give one's life to Christ.

A Hymn Of Comfort To Numerous Cultures

There is usually a reason a song finds its way into our heart; so much so that we’re singing it out loud or playing it on our instruments all the time. Perhaps it’s a catchy melody, compelling words or both. For many millions of God trusting people throughout numerous generations and covering a wide cross-section of church denominations, only God truly knows the number, this hymn has both a catchy, memorable tune as well as compelling and comforting words that tell of a savior who has born all of our sins (1 Peter 2:24,25) and griefs.

Now I can just hear someone mumbling indignantly that they really don't need anyone to do that for them. Well I'll dare to say that you know that you do. We all do.

This Savior that many resist, preferring to handle life all on their own is mankind’s savior. His name is Jesus. He is also a friend. And not just any friend. He's the kind of friend that will stand the test of time. He's a friend that's not always pointing a finger at us in judgment. No, Jesus is a true friend who loves us, is always there through all of our ups and downs. He's there when we're right. He's there when we're dead wrong.

Jesus is there when our circumstances suddenly turn very sour through illness, death, divorce or loss of employment. He's the one who's always eager to listen - tirelessly as we pour out our hearts to Him in brokenness, sorrow or shame. Jesus is there with His arms open wide offering fresh compassion and forgiveness as often as we need it. And He'll carry not just some, but all of our burdens each and every day(Psalms 68:19) if we allow Him to, because He won't force His help on anyone. You have to want it.

In my book that kind of friendship is well beyond human capability as far as the definition of friendship goes. I couldn't do all of those things or be all of those things for anyone even if I tried really hard. It's completely over the top. Yet, I already said that Jesus is not just any friend. Oh no. He's the friend that loves us all the time (Proverbs 17:17).

His name is Jesus, our Savior, who carries our burdens willingly each and every day. It's a Biblical fact, if you believe the Bible, it can't be rationalized. You'll never be able to make sense of it. It's a fact that must be believed and experienced by each one of us individually day by day, trial by trial as we live our frequently chaotic lives, in gradual delightful, discovery that Jesus truly is our friend.

Listen To Merle Haggard's Rendition: YouTube Video

What A Friend We Have In Jesus
What A Friend We Have In Jesus

Will relax you and draw you into the Lord's presence right away. Beautiful and uplifting. It may bring you to tears.

 

What A Friend We Have In Jesus: The Lyrics

The hymn, written by Joseph M. Scriven in 1855, has many different versions with a variety of lyrics in numerous languages. The following is the most traditional Christian version with a rarely seen fourth verse.*

1.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.

2.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.

3.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.

4.*Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.


Have a blessed and peaceful week!

2015 Barb Johnson (Babbyii)

Did You Grow Up With This Hymn?

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    • Babbyii profile imageAUTHOR

      Barb Johnson 

      3 years ago from Alaska's Kenai Peninsula

      You're welcome Yvette! Glad I found just the right video. I understand that not everyone will take the time to watch a video. Blessings to you as well.

      Barb

    • Inspired Heart profile image

      Yvette Stupart 

      3 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks Barb, a wonderful and meaningful hymn for those who face adversity and know Jesus as friend. I found the video on the author's life inspiring too.

      Blessings,

      Yvette

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