What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Those that have visited recently know the question burning on my heart
My friend, Vanessa, didn’t know when she sent me this Music Monday guest post. And I can’t help but see it for what it is.
A gift. From Him.
For He knows what touches my soul, and this post…this hymn…does.
Friends, I’m honored to share Vanessa’s heart with you. Won’t you give her a warm welcome?


The organ began to play, and my heart leaped into my throat as it recognized the familiar tune.

The toddler pulling at my dress. The preschooler climbing, jumping, hanging upside down in the pews.

All the struggles of that morning wrangling these two simply melted in the low hum of that organ.

I held the hymnal and my man wrapped his arm around my waist. When I whispered “this is one of my favorites” half-way through, my man just squeezed me tighter, and in that moment I knew he had heard every tear-choked word I had been belting out with my imperfect voice.

Music has always had a powerful affect on me.

Luther Music

I picked up my first instruments at the age of ten, learning two or three more before entering college.

Handel’s Messiah always brought chills during the holidays.

The trumpet during This is the Feast of Victory for Our God every Sunday morning at our first church was the highlight of the service, and my man and I would sing the words throughout the rest of the day.

During tough times, the Lutheran in me even found peace in the words of praise songs… and Mighty to Saveย and Desert Songย are still difficult to sing through the tears and the catch in my throat.

But there are a handful of hymns that undo me down to my core.

These hymns dig deep, to loosen all the junk I’ve been carrying, forcing me to dump it all at the cross.

These hymns break open wounds to allow for the healing I need.

The words. The melodies. They pierce my soul and release my heart of stone so I can be once again renewed with the clean heart He promises.

On this particular Sunday morning, the hymn that undid me, the hymn that erased all the struggles of that morning and let me release it all to Him, was this:

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.

Yes, there are two more verses, but I will leave you with these along with this amazing performance by Alan Jackson.

I pray this is a blessing to you today as it was for me that Sunday.

Hearts On GuardVanessa writes to inspire, to encourage, to lift up and to celebrate God’s love for you at Hearts On Guard. She is a proud Army National Guard wife and a working mom of two toddlers. She seeks community, fellowship, and the sharing of God’s mercy and grace with all. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

How about you, friend? How have you released it all lately and taken it all to the friend we have in Jesus? We’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with us.

Simply striving,

Nikki (and Vanessa)

13 thoughts on “What a Friend We Have in Jesus

  1. “The words. The melodies. They pierce my soul and release my heart of stone…” Amen!

    Always happy to meet a like-minded sister. ๐Ÿ™‚ There is always at least one song (Ok, honestly? I cry through almost all the songs!) that moves me to tears each Sunday morning.

    • I agree Laurie! I’m a huge sap and so many of the hymns we sing move me so deeply ๐Ÿ™‚ This one, though? I don’t even have to get two bars in and I’m a wreck of ugly crying ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. “What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!” Everything !!! Not just for healing from cancer. Not just rebuilding of relationships. Not just the things others would concern major but even the ‘little’ things because are they all just little things to Him? He is always so faithful to leave and reply to each of our needs in a way that is best. Thank you Vanessa for the reminder that He is there for us to lean on even when we think we are alone. Thank you Nikki for sharing Vanessa’s beautiful words today.

  3. Love to hear people gushing about hymns! There was a time i thought hymn lovers under the age of 90 were rarities but i found a church home full of them and a blogging community teeming with them ๐Ÿ™‚ i love hymns too. The theology of these babies just , knocks my socks off some days. Thanks for sharing! Both of you!

  4. We sang both Desert Song and What a Friend We Have in Jesus this past Sunday…both so powerful when I stop to think about the words. Beautiful post, friend…thank you for sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m so late to this party, but I wanted to tell Vanessa how thankful I am that I was able to read these words, EVEN TODAY! The old hymns were imbued with such comforting doctrine – truths ground out in raspy voices and clangy instruments – but beautiful none-the-less. Thank you for highlighting one of my favorites, here, Vanessa!

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