The words of the hymn "What a friend we have in Jesus" were written by Banbridge man and church minister Joseph Scriven. Born in 1819, Joseph was engaged to be married when, the day before the wedding in 1843, he was watching his fiancée attempting to cross the River Bann on horseback. Tragically the horse threw her and she drowned. Heartbroken, he emigrated to Canada where he was to receive news that his mother was unwell and feeling down, so he wrote her a poem entitled “Pray without ceasing” to cheer her up. The poem was found on a folded piece of paper in a drawer in his desk while his house was being cleared after his death (also by drowning) - the words were subsequently set to music.
A very nice memorial garden has been set up in his name in Downshire Place, Banbridge - well worth a visit.
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, burdened with a load of care? Jesus only is 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 his comfort there.
Words: Joseph Scriven, 1819-1886 adapted Peter J. Horrobin, b.1943 and Greg P. Leavers b.1952 Music: Charles Crozat Converse (1832 - 1918)