Thursday, May 5, 2011

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. Psalm 5:1-3

Today is the National Day of Prayer, and I couldn't think of a better way to commemorate it than to focus on this beautiful, old, beloved hymn. Sometimes I have the feeling that this hymn has become "trite" in its over-use in movies or other applications, (can you just hear the old organ in the background?) but this hymn is rich in theology and can make you think if you take the time to focus on the words and their meaning in your life.

Because I don't want it to become trite, we'll spend the next several days looking at this wonderful hymn, verse by verse, and focusing on the wonderful privilege we have of bringing everything to our God in prayer.

Jesus truly is the friend to sinners. He bore all our sin and grief on the cross at Calvary.

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. I Peter 2:24

He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:3-5

Jesus, God in flesh, gave Himself for us to pay the price of our sin. He died, was buried, and rose again and now is seated at the right hand of the Father. Jesus, one with the Father God, lives to intercede for us, His children.

Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Romans 8:34

Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:24-25

Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father, who wants to hear from His children! We indeed have a great privelege of bringing everything to God in prayer.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6

There are certainly consequences when we don't go to our Heavenly Father in prayer - and they are unnecessary! We forfeit peace, we bear needless pain. When we do follow Paul's exhortation in Philippians 4:6, look what happens:

And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

God's peace - and look at how it is described - it surpasses all comprehension - will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Now that's something you don't want to miss out on! Our Lord is the God of Peace. And I want His peace guarding my heart so that I can follow His command to live in peace with my brothers. I am only able to do this by carrying everything to God in prayer, and I do indeed count it a privelege! For my Father wants to hear from me, and He delights in my fervent prayer.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Words by Joseph Scriven

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 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 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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