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Wednesday Worship - November 4, 2015

I remember the first time I heard What a Friend We Have in Jesus...  Words that spoke comfort to me...

The stanzas so beautifully written, speaking to the heart of every believer, in whatever trial they might find themselves in...

The story behind the hymn ...

Irish born Joseph Scriven endured the unthinkable not just once, but twice...  His fiance died the day before their wedding in a tragic drowning accident.  Heartbroken, he sailed to Canada to start a new life where he met Eliza and fell in love.  They became engaged, but before the wedding took place, Eliza died...

Joseph's faith sustained him and he joined the Plymouth Brethren and began preaching for a Baptist Church.   He never married, but spent the remainder of his life giving all his time, money and even the clothes off his own back to help the less fortunate and to spread the love and compassion of Jesus wherever he went.

Around the time that his second fiance died, he received word from Ireland that his mother was ill.  Because he could not go to be with her, he sent along a poem to comfort her entitled What a Friend We Have in Jesus.

"Many years later a friend was sitting with Joseph, as he was very ill. During this visit, the friend was very impressed when he ran across his poems, including What a Friend We Have in Jesus. As a result of this visit, almost 30 years after his letter of comfort to his mother, Joseph's poems were published in a book called Hymns and Other Verses. Soon thereafter, noted musician Charles C. Converse (1834-1918) put music to one of those poems: What a Friend We Have in Jesus."

"After Joseph Scriven's death, the citizens of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada, where he gave so much of himself, erected a monument to his life. The seemingly sad and obscure life of one man resulted in so many lives being uplifted, both in his own time, and for many years after whenever the beautiful and comforting words of What a Friend We Have in Jesus are sung."

{Quoted excerpts were taken from}

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Joseph M. Scriven

What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, 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 thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
Thou wilt find a solace there.

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.

Enjoy this version by EpicYouthWatsonville

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  1. What a beautiful song, one of my favorites too!

    1. Thanks for sharing! And thanks for visiting! :-)

  2. Since I'm older I know all these beautiful old songs. Thanks.

    1. Deborah,

      The old hymns are such a comfort to hear...

      I find that when attending any church that has modern Praise & Worship, if a hymn is played, it seems the voices are lifted the loudest. There is so much familiarity to the hymns. They are certainly a rich part of our faith walk.

      Thanks for sharing and for stopping by! :-)

  3. Since I'm older I know all these beautiful old songs. Thanks.

  4. I love this story. It proves to us that no labor is in vain for the dear Lord. We may never live to see the full effects of our work for Him, and perhaps only generations following will really benefit from it. But, it is never in vain. I think of how the Bible says God's Word will not return unto Him void...I know this is referring to Scripture, but I believe it also applies to the other words He inspires to be written. I believe all of it will accomplish what He intends for it to. Thank you for sharing about Joseph Scriven and this, one of my favorite hymns ever. :)

    1. Cheryl, I couldn't agree more. :-) Spiritual mentors through written word and lyrics to hymns.

      Thanks for sharing and for visiting. :-)

      Blessings to you Cheryl.


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