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.
Blessed 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.
Words by Joseph Scriven, 1855
Music by Charles Converse, 1868
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. 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.
John 15:13 – 15
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6 – 7
Remember back in elementary school, when you would take a field trip to a museum, a park or anywhere else? We were always told the rules of behavior; “Don’t run”, “Obey the signs”, Listen to the adults” and most importantly, “use the buddy system.”
You remember the buddy system. You were paired up with one or two other people, and you always had to be together no matter where you went. The plan was to make sure that no one got lost or left behind. It’s a good plan and can be used throughout our lives. It’s always good to have someone else to share our load.
Even in the Bible we see the buddy system. In Ecclesiastes 4:9 – 12 we read, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.”
This is the idea behind the old hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” We all need a friend to turn to and Proverbs 18:24 tells us that “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Now what exactly does “closer than a brother mean?” Think about it. It is not unusual for people to put on a face for people to see. They share what they want to be seen. But a brother, or family in general, sees the real us. They see us when we let our mask down. They know our real strengths and weaknesses.
Yes family knows the real us, and there is something about that which gives us peace. We don’t feel the need to put on a happy face when things are bad. We don’t have to live in fear that people will see our failings and turn away. Family loves you as you are.
So who is this friend that is closer than a brother? It is the Lord Himself. Jesus remind us of this in John 15:15 when he says, “I have called you friends.” Jesus is the friend closer than a brother. Jesus is the closest friend to all believers. He is the friend we can be ourselves with. He is the friend we can share our joys and our sorrows with. He is the friend who knows the real us and accepts us. As Scriven writes, “Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.”
This is the gift that God has given to those who turn to Him. In Scriven’s words, “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!” We bring whatever we are facing, whatever we are going through to God in prayer. And what is the result of bringing things to Him? It may not always be the answer we are looking for, but it brings us a sense of peace. By trusting things to God, we can find a peace that is beyond our understanding. A peace that comes from knowing everything is in God’s hands.
In Philippians 4:6 – 7 Paul tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Sharing our prayers with the Lord gives us this peace. But when we fail to bring our problems to God in prayer, we give up the opportunity to experience this peace. Scriven puts it this way, “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”
Believers have been given a wonderful gift. The opportunity to allow Jesus to share, and even carry our burdens. The buddy system works. Jesus is there to help us carry on and make sure we are not left behind. “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”(Hebrews 13:5)
Because of this, I find great peace as I sing the words, “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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