What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Greater love has no man than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13NKJV

Joseph M. Scriven, (1819-1869), wrote the poem What a Friend We Have in Jesus in 1855. He sent it to his mother in Ireland to encourage her in her time of sorrow; some sources say she was ill. The poem was later put to music by Charles C. Converse. (Public Domain.)

Scriven was no stranger to tragedy. He had to give up his military ambitions because of poor health. On the night before his wedding, his fiancée drowned. He left Ireland to start a new life in Canada, where Scriven lost his second bride-to-be to illness. Soon afterwards, he joined the Plymouth Brethren and began preaching for a Baptist church. He never married. He spent the rest of his life giving all of his time and money to help the less fortunate and to spread the love of Jesus wherever he went. This cost him friends who disagreed with his work with the underprivileged. Scriven’s trust in the Lord carried him through difficulties, for he found Jesus Christ to be a faithful friend. Consider the lyrics of this beloved hymn:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry Ev’rything to God in prayer.
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry Ev’rything 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 with all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our ev’ry 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.

In my last devotional, The Value of Friendship, some of the attributes of a good friend included loving at all times, faithful loyalty, and communication.

Jesus loves us. He is a faithful, loyal friend. His words to us are sweet and bring delight, for His words are true, and His counsel is wise and righteous.

Jesus is not afraid of the heavy lifting, but bears all of our sins and grief. Can we find a friend so faithful who with all our sorrows share? We can come to Jesus and know that He cares and will listen. He does not forsake us. He comforts us.

We can always communicate with our Lord. He’s never too busy! He talks to us in Scripture, God’s love letter to us. The Holy Spirit within the believer brings the things of God to mind, and helps us in our troubles. God rejoices over us! No matter what we want to say to God, we can take it to the Lord in prayer.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on

We can be a friend of Jesus. How?

You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all the things that I heard from My Father I have made known to You. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:14-17 NKJV

What a Friend we have in Jesus! Let’s take everything to him in prayer. May you and I be Jesus’ friends and obey Him. In what area is He calling you to obey? Be a good friend to others. Love one another.  


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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.


The Value of Friendship

Oil and perfume make the heart rejoice, as does the pleasantness of a friend’s suggestions from the heart. Proverbs 27:9 MLV

A dear friend moved out of state this week. Rose has been my confidant and prayer partner for twenty-seven years. While I am happy for her that she and her husband will be closer to their family, I will miss her greatly. Our biweekly get-togethers will switch to phone and video calls, and the occasional visit.  

I’m thankful that the Lord gives us people to go through life with. Some are with us for a short season, others for life even when far away. A true friend is a blessing. The Lord knows we need those close relationships. Friends are mentioned in Scripture, along with what to look for in a person, and how to be good friends ourselves.

A friend loves at all times…Proverbs 17:17a RSV. I’ve been blessed to have many friends who love me no matter what my mood, circumstances, or schedule. They are quick to forgive. Like Rose, they love me in my good and my bad times.

Loyal friends don’t listen to gossip or spread it. I know that when I share with loyal friends, that it won’t go anywhere without permission, not even disguised as a prayer request. Rose has prayed for my situations and family members, as I have for hers. We pray with complete confidence that our prayer requests are confidential.

Better is open rebuke than secret love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend… Proverbs 27:5, 6a NKJV. Sometimes it takes courage to be a true friend. I will never forget Rose lovingly rebuking me for a bad attitude I was carrying about a ministry that had ended for me. I wasn’t happy to hear her words, yet she was brave enough to suggest that maybe it was God’s will at the time. My friendship with Rose was important enough to me that I knew I had to get past my defensiveness and consider her counsel. In time I realized she was right. At other times Rose kindly prayed that I would have the wisdom, humor, or change in attitude to deal with a struggle I was having. She is good about receiving a rebuke as well.

A good friend helps others improve. Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another Proverbs 27:17 RSV. As we hold each other accountable and lift each other up, we become better people. I’ve become a better wife and mother through my friendships. I learned to pray for my family through the friends I gained in Moms in Prayer International and in church.  I also gained skills in sewing, cooking, and gardening through others.

Relationships take time. Rose and I found we needed to plan to meet every other week, even if it was just for an hour, or our busy schedules quickly could crowd out our time for each other.

Relationships require communication. Do we actively talk and really listen? Do we hog the conversation, or perhaps not contribute? Sometimes I see people at a table in a restaurant, and each person is on their phone, not interacting with the people they are with. It’s a sad way to spend time together. 

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How are our friendships? Are we being a good friend? Let’s think of a friend and tell that person what they mean to us.

Dear Lord, Thank you for the gift of friends. Thank you for the richness they add to my life. Please help me to stay in touch and to be a better friend. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs. I hope and pray that you will be touched by God in a special way each time you visit. Blogs usually post every other Thursday. Past devotionals are archived for your convenience.