What A Friend We Have In Jesus

“What A Friend We Have In Jesus” – Martin Simpson
From the recording A Closer Walk With Thee.

Martin Simpson – Guitars
Joe Weed – Fiddles
Produced by Joe Weed

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Highland Studio by Joe Weed (1994).
Produced by Joe Weed.
Publishing: Gourd Music (BMI) / Jozone Music (BMI)

I learned “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” from Washington Phillips, whose entire recorded output is now available on Yazoo Records. Phillips played a small-patented keyboard instrument called a dulceola, and sang with great pathos and compassion. His accompaniments are light and filigreed, but his subject matter is mortality and deliverance.
The hymn What a Friend We Have in Jesus was written in 1855 as a poem by Joseph Scriven to comfort his mother. In 1868 Charles Crozat Converse wrote the melody and William Bolcom composed a setting to the hymn. It is one of the most well-known of hymns, taking on a new life as the World War I song When This Bloody War is Over. I am sure Washington Phillips, who only recorded the first verse, considered this an old song when he recorded it in 1927. (Martin Simpson).

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and grief’s 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.

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.

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.

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