Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 New Living translation
Paul’s words are very easy to read but much harder to put into practice. As I was preparing for the service (Sunday 14th June) I was reminded of the tragic story of Joseph Scriven. He was born in Ireland in 1819. After receiving his university degree from Trinity College in London, he quickly established himself as a teacher, fell in love, and made plans to settle in his hometown. Then tragedy struck. The day before his scheduled wedding, his fiancé drowned as a result of a freak horse-riding accident.
Overcome with grief, Scriven left Ireland to start a new life in Canada. He established a home in Rice Lake, where he met and fell in love with Eliza Rice. Just weeks before she was to become Joseph Scriven’s bride, she suddenly grew sick. In a matter of weeks, Eliza died.
A shattered Scriven turned to the only thing that had anchored him during his life — his faith. Through prayer and Bible study he found not just solace, but a mission. The twenty-five-year-old Scriven took a vow of poverty, sold all of his earthly possessions, and vowed to give his life to the physically handicapped and financially destitute.
Ten years later Scriven received word that his mother had become very ill. The man who had taken a vow of poverty did not have the funds to go home to help care for her. Heartsick, and feeling a need to reach out to her, he wrote the story of his life in three short verses. His poem soon became a beautiful hymn that is still a favourite of many people today. It is a reminder to us all of the power of prayer to help us find strength and comfort when we are going through difficult times, that hymn is “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” Perhaps one of the reasons why it has remained so popular is that it was clearly written as a result personal experience: of the pain of life in a broken and fallen world that so many of us can associate with.
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 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.
Suggested Hymns for the 12 noon prayer times
Tuesday what a friend we have in Jesus
Wednesday Sovereign over us Aron Keys
Thursday Blessed be your name
Friday Way maker
Monday one thing remains