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Hymn #2 – “What a Friend We Have In Jesus”

Major Scott Nicloy, The Salvation Army Anchorage Corps & Community Center, Anchorage, Alaska
“What a Friend We Have In Jesus”


? THE LYRICS of this HYMN ?
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.


This hymn was written by Joseph Scriven in 1855
Born Joseph Medlicott Scriven 10 September 1819, in Banbridge, County Down, Ireland
Died 10 August 1886 (age 66), in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada
Buried in Pengally’s Cemetery
Mr. Scriven was a man who experienced the friendship of Jesus through a life filled with person tragedies. At a young age he had to give up his military ambitions due to poor health. His fiancée accidentally drowned in 1843, the night before they were to be married. Soon after this incident, he set sail for Canada thinking he was destined to live alone, with Jesus as his only close friend. Around 1857 he moved near to Port Hope, Ontario where he again fell in love.  He was, again, due to be married, but in August 1860 his fiancée suddenly fell ill of pneumonia and died.
With no job in a hard economy, Mr. Scriven had to live with friends and acquaintances. His volunteer work with the impoverished and sickly, as he tried to live as closely to the Sermon on the Mount as possible, was frowned upon by those friends and many quickly disassociated themselves from him.
He then devoted the rest of his life to tutoring, preaching and helping others. He became know as “the Good Samaritan of Port Hope”.

Video: “The Story Behind What a Friend We Have in Jesus”
Published on Youtube by jmose1009 
on Jan 27, 2012


Mr. Scriven wrote the poem in a letter to his mother in Ireland when she became ill in 1855. He had no material resources to send her – only a reminder that the most perfect friend, Jesus himself, was with her. The original title was “Pray Without Ceasing”.
Later, when he became ill, a friend who was visiting, noticed the poem written on a piece of paper near his bed. The friend asked if he had written the poem, to which Mr. Scriven replied, “Well, not completely. The Lord and I did it between us.”
The tune was composed by Charles Crozat Converse and renamed in 1868, becoming the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. Mr. Scriven did not have any intentions nor dream that his poem would be for publication in the newspaper and later becoming a favorite hymn among the millions of Christians around the world.
Psalm 55:22
Proverbs 18: 24
Matthew 11: 28-29
John 15: 13-16
Philippians 4: 6-7

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