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  • Shawn Thornton

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Sunday - May 16th

Scripture to Read Today: Philippians 2:5-11

In your relationships with one another,

have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:5


In 1844, Joseph Scriven had completed his college education and returned home to marry his sweetheart. As the young Irishman traveled to meet her on the day before their wedding, his life was forever altered. He came upon a horrible scene. He discovered his beautiful fiancée lying face down in the water of a creek bed. She had apparently fallen from her horse and ended up unconscious in the shallow creek.


Heartbroken by the loss of his love, Scrivener moved from Ireland to Canada. He eventually fell in love again. For the second time, he lost a fiancée close to the planned wedding day—this time weeks before being married. The young woman became ill and died quite quickly and unexpectedly. Once again, Scriven experienced the sudden loss of the woman he loved. How very tragic!


The year following the death of his second bride-to-be, Scriven wrote a poem and sent it to his mother in Ireland. In the brief poem, he described the deep friendship with Jesus he experienced through both losses. Scriven had worked to cultivate a life of prayer and Bible reading daily. He believed his relationship with Christ kept him from complete collapse as he processed the hardships of his life - namely the deaths of two fiancées.


The poem was published anonymously at first under the title, "Pray Without Ceasing." A decade later, Scriven finally acknowledged that he and a friend had written the well-loved poem. In 1868, attorney Charles Converse added a tune to the text and renamed it "What a Friend We Have in Jesus."


Philippians 2:5-11 reminds us that God the Son left Heaven's glory and walked among us. He gets what it means to suffer. He knows what it means to live in obscurity and be raised in an average human setting. The coming of Christ in human flesh conveys a willingness to be our friend. When Jesus is your friend, life becomes bearable and even worthwhile - no matter what you face.


Scriven learned that God walked with him. He was not alone. He discovered that he had a friendship with Jesus that could not be broken. Over the years, God has used "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" to walk me through some of the most challenging times of my life. Below are the lyrics to the song. CLICK HERE to enjoy the live performance of the song by country artist Alan Jackson.


Jesus offers us a friendship that welcomes our hurts, concerns, fears, dreams, and plans. He will hear our prayers!



What a Friend We Have in Jesus

by Joseph M. Scrivener and Charles C. Converse


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

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