#499 What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Words by Joseph M. Scriven, 1855 (1819-1886)

Music by Charles C. Converse (1868-1918)


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.


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.


Joseph Scriven wrote these words, titled "Pray Without Ceasing," for his mother in Ireland in 1855, with the express intention of bringing comfort to her at a time of sorrow. He never intended it to be a hymn. Scriven was known as a committed Christian who was always ready to help the poor, sick, and handicapped people by seeing that they had a good supply of sawed wood for their fires.

The tune CONVERSE commemorates the composer Charles Crozat Converse, who wrote the tune in 1868. It is a typical gospel song melody with very little variation in the bass and tenor parts, but quite tuneful progressions in the soprano and alto. Converse engaged in a successful law practice, but also composed string quartets, cantatas, chorales, and hymn tunes.