Joseph Scriven was born in 1819 in Banbridge, Ireland. He graduated with a degree from Trinity College, Dublin in 1842. His childhood friend who became his fiancée accidentally drowned in 1843, the night before they were to be married.
Joseph Scriven was so emotionally down as he turned to God for strength. He decided to leave Ireland and settled in Ontario Canada in 1845. There Joseph dedicated his life to helping the poor and the weak in cutting wood.
In the cause of dedicating his life in bringing joy to the weak, Joseph fell in love with a young beautiful woman. As they planned to settle down in Marriage, his newly found love fell ill and died of pneumonia. Being the second time of such devastating experience, Joseph wrote to his mother in the words of the Hymn. ” 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!”
One lesson from Joseph Scriven’s story is: He did not see God as being far, very big, scary and judgmental but he saw God as a personal friend to carry his burdens and ease his pains. The Holy Spirit is that friend that sticks better than a brother. Jesus says “I will never leave nor forsake you”. Get up from that grieve, that pain,that sorrow… Talk to Jesus as a friend for he hears and he will bear all your grieve.
The story above is not one I have written myself but was one I heard from the Vicar of Sutton Hill Church Revd. Hugh Scriven many years ago. Hugh was a distant relative of Joseph Scriven and told us this same story.
This got me thinking about the situation we find ourselves in at the moment and how we need to pray with each other so I offer up these prayers in Spirit and Truth.
Jesus, our friend, be with each one of us as we endeavour to deal with the present situation of the coronavirus.
Be with the courageous NHS workers and all those involved in caring for the sick, be their friend when life seems too hard to bear, when they no longer feel they can carry on. .Be with all the workers in the various services who are making sure that life can go on as normal as it is able
Jesus, our friend, be with those who are sick and their families and be with the bereaved mourning their loved ones.
Be with our loved ones, those with us and those apart from us, enable us to speak of our love for them
Jesus, our friend, among this community in this time of isolation, be among the family feuds and arguments that can erupt, guide them into the path of peace.
Whatever situation may be before us. Let`s take it to the Lord in prayer.
It was such a coincidence that I was asked to write and say why I think prayer is important because for the last few months I have been re reading some of my old bible study notes, “Every Day with Jesus”. Selwyn Hughes who started publishing these notes, chooses a theme, giving us bible reading notes then he would then share a meditation, and finish with a prayer. There are readings for every day for two months. The other coincidence, although I prefer to think of it as a God incidence, (and I’ve only just spotted it), is the date, the time of year January/February issue. The theme for the first one I started reading is, The meaning and importance of prayer. I started reading it this year in January. The next one I followed it with is “Building a more effective Prayer Life”.
I have Passionately believed for a long time how important prayer is, although like many others I feel it is something I’m not good at, but do you know what I’m discovering, you don’t have to be good at you just have to do it. I have a lovely poem which reads like a letter from God it is called ‘just talk to me’. It talks of all the things we don’t have to do , you don’t have to wear your best clothes, you don’t have to put on funny voices, etc. and after everything he mentions he says, “Just talk to me”.
I think the most important things I have learned is that God just wants us to talk to him, to spend time with him, He wants to be in our daily lives. I have read many books on prayer trying to understand more, one I have found particularly helpful is titled Personality and Prayer. Because we all have different personalities our needs and ways of praying will be different and that’s ok, there is no one size fits all.
One of the things Selwyn Hughes says is,” Prayer is an act, but it is more than an act it is a life attitude”. It is a necessity for the Christian, the rest of the notes go on to talk about what is prayer? And how we can build a prayer life.
Prayer is so much more, our loving heavenly father wants to spend time with us, isn’t that amazing!