What a Friend We Have in Jesus

lyrics by joseph scriven, music by charles converse

What a Friend We Have in Jesus Lyrics

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.


Blessèd 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.



What a Friend We Have in Jesus Guitar Chords


D                        G    

What a friend we have in Jesus,

D                          A    

All our sins and griefs to bear;

D                   G        

What a privilege to carry

A                    D        

Everything to God in prayer!
A                     D       

O what peace we often forfeit,

G      D                A           

O what needless pain we bear,

D                     G    

All because we do not carry

A                    D     

Everything to God in prayer.


Scripture References

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17 - Pray without ceasing.

  • John 15:15 - I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

  • 1 John 5:14 - This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

The Story


Joseph Scriven was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1819. He grew up in Dublin and eventually attended Trinity College there. Tragedy struck him when he was a young man. He had been engaged to a beautiful young woman, but on the night before their wedding in 1845, she accidentally drowned.


Grief stricken, Scriven emigrated to Ontario, Canada. There, he eventually fell in love and became engaged to another women, who herself suddenly fell ill of pneumonia and died shortly, again shortly before they were to be married.


After this, he never married but devoted the rest of his life to helping others. He made it his goal to live according to the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. He soon earned a reputation as a man who willingly gave of himself to those in need, never turning down a request.


The story goes that one day a man from his town saw him in his work clothes and wanted to hire him to chop some wood for him. "He won't cut wood for you," said a man who knew Scriven. "Why not?" the man asked. "Because you are able to pay for it. He only saws wood for poor widows and sick people."


In 1855, Scriven heard that his mother was terribly ill. From thousands of miles away, Scriven wrote a poem to her called "Pray Without Ceasing". Scriven had intended the poem only to be read by his mother. But over time it was passed around and found itself in a pamphlet of Sunday school hymns as the hymn "What a Friend We Have in Jesus".


Famous gospel singer, composer, and hymnal editor Ira D. Sankey stumbled upon it and published into his hymnal Gospel Hymns No. 1, where it immediately had wide circulation. Sankey had mistakenly attributed the hymn to another Scotsman, Horatius Bonar, but Bonar informed Sankey that he was indeed not the author.


It wasn't until 30 years later than Scriven was recognized as the true author of the piece. No one in Scriven's town of Port Hope had any idea that he had this kind of poetic ability. In the years right before his death, someone asked Scriven if he was really the author. His answer: "The Lord and I did it between us".


Today, 155 years after it was written, the words are still a powerful reminder to us that no matter what we're going through in life, whenever we feel weak, or burdened, or grief-stricken, or in pain, there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother who is there to listen, if only we ask.



YouTube Videos



Your Comments