Daily Devotion 17 July 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Psalm 34:4 ‘Praise for Deliverance’

I sought the Lord, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.

Joseph Medlicott Scriven was an Irish poet, the son of a Royal Marine. As a young man, tragically his fiancee drowned the night before they were to be married. Joseph moved from Ireland to Canada and worked as a private tutor, but a second tragedy happened. He had fallen in love with a local woman, to whom he also became engaged, but she died of pneumonia just weeks before their marriage. What appalling grief he must have known and endured.

Joseph was a devout Christian who was very generous in helping impoversihed people. In 1855 he wrote a poem called ‘Pray without Ceasing’ to comfort his ailing mother. This was then retitled to ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus’ which is now a well-regarded classic gospel hymn.

‘What a Friend we have in Jesus’
Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1819-1886)
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.

The verses speak volumes to us – especially in our present predicament. Encouragement to take everything to God in prayer leaves no stone unturned. To enjoy real peace of mind the solution is obvious in verse one. In verse two the answer is in the affirmative as we review the present situations of worldly strife. We can be thankful that we are not alone and our answer is in Jesus’ hands. The last verse sums up how desperate we can become but we have the answer – if only we will use it!

Prayer:

Loving Father in Heaven
We thank you that we can always come into your presence
and you hear our prayers.
We pray especially for all who are in the caring services,
that they may be given encouragement and health
as they seek to administer help to those in their care.
In your name. Amen.

Reflection, and Prayer © 2020 Derek Scott.
Hymn words freely available or no longer in copyright.
Images freely available online.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356