A young man lost his fiancée in a drowning accident the night before they were due to be married. This grieving man left his country of birth and his family and immigrated to Canada. He later fell in love and was due to marry again when the young woman fell ill and died of pneumonia. This man’s grief could have destroyed him, but it did not. His response has influenced millions of Christians the world over.
He did not become bitter toward people nor toward God but rather chose to devote his life to helping others. He never married.
Despite his own hurt and grief, he reached out to his sorrowful mother to comfort her. She was living in Ireland and he in Canada and, as mothers are prone to do, her heart yearned for her child. For her, he wrote a poem called “Pray without Ceasing”. It was later turned into a hymn. This hymn has been translated into almost every known language and has brought comfort to many countless millions.
Joseph Scriven (born 1819) has lived out this portion of scripture and his example ministers to and encourages me.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
Here is his beautiful poem that reflects a beautiful, well guarded heart.
WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS
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 Saviour, 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 Saviour, 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.